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ExpressJet apologizes for Rochester airport delay


WASHINGTON D.C. - ExpressJet Holdings Inc. (XJT) apologized for a delay that left passengers stuck on a Minnesota tarmac for hours last weekend and said it would report the results of its review to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"We apologize to the customers for the extended delay of Flight 2816, which did not meet Continental's service standards," said a statement from ExpressJet.

On Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he had asked his department's general counsel to conduct a review of whether Continental Airlines Inc. (CAL) or ExpressJet violated any laws in connection with the delay.

The incident involved a Continental Express flight from Houston to Minneapolis. It was diverted to nearby Rochester, where 47 passengers waited six hours before getting off as the airport security staff had departed for the night.

The flight reawakened the debate over a long-mooted "passenger bill of rights" in the U.S. The incident also marks a blow for ExpressJet, which operates most of Continental's regional services under a tougher contract after almost losing its franchise a year ago