RYANAIR INVESTIGATED OVER LOW FUEL EMERGENCY LANDINGS
Mark Nolan / 2012-08-16 16:38:42
The Spanish Aviation Safety Agency (AESA), which is part of the Ministry of Development has opened an investigation to gather information about emergency landings in late July, when three aircraft belonging to Irish airline Ryanair made emergency landings due to lack of fuel, having been diverted to Valencia from their destination of Madrid, due to a storm.
In addition, the Spanish consumer association, CEACCU, filed a lawsuit this week with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) against Ryanair, as they consider that the incident was a "serious violation”, which compromised passenger safety.
The investigation over potential unsafe practices, that could have catastrophic effects, may result in the airline being banned from flying in Spanish airspace for 3 years, as well as a fine of 4 million euro.
The incident in question occurred on Thursday 26th July, 2012, when the three aircraft were diverted to Manises airport, as they were unable to land at Madrid Barajas. Although the aircraft were able to make the journey, all three declared an emergency due to a lack of fuel, which gave them a priority path into the airport. Ordinarily, the aircraft would join a queue of others waiting to land, following their turn in succession.
Ryanair planes are loaded with sufficient fuel for the journey they are scheduled to undertake, giving consideration to the weight and fuel use ration, to which any excess loading of fuel must be justified in writing.
Ryanair has said it followed the "aviation security procedures established" to request permission to land three of its aircraft immediately at the airport in Valencia on July 26, once reached the "minimum fuel reserve "and after being diverted from Madrid-Barajas.
In a statement of defence of the incident, Ryanair has indicated that due to heavy storms in Madrid, air traffic control services instructed various aircraft, including the three planes of Ryanair, to divert to Valencia airport.
The company said that after flying to Valencia for 50, 68 and 90 minutes respectively, after their scheduled landing time at Madrid-Barajas, the three planes reached "the minimum level of reserve fuel that allows each of the planes to fly for 30 additional minutes of flight (about 300 miles)", and thus declared a request to make an emergency landing.
Ryanair has indicated that the three planes landed "normally" and still carried the minimum fuel reserve for about 30 minutes of flight.
The investigation has been initiated to ascertain the liability of the aircraft and the company and to ascertain if established aviation safety procedures had been violated.