15 AUG 2012: In a frightening coincidence, three Ryanair jets were forced to make emergency landings at Valencia, Spain within minutes of each other late last months when the planes all ran low on fuel.
Thunderstorms on July 26th over Madrid, Spain (where the flights were due to land) caused delays and subsequent holding patterns for many flights that day.
Once the Ryanair planes ran low on fuel, they then had to issue mayday calls to Valencia Airport and land right away.
Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said that due to thunderstorms over Madrid Spanish ATC (air traffic control) instructed Ryanair aircraft to divert to Valencia where they were placed in a hold pattern.
“Sometime later the aircraft advised ATC that they would not have sufficient fuel reserves to return to Madrid and were permitted to land in Valencia.
“All aircraft landed normally. Ryanair sincerely apologises to the passengers affected by these diversions, which were due to adverse weather.”’
Ryanair now apparently has an ‘efficiency drive’ policy that ‘discourages’ excess fuel being put on the planes.
The Uk media has reported that a memorandum signed by Shane McKeon, deputy chief pilot and base captain at Stansted, and dated December 19, 2011, reiterates that pilots should only take on board the minimum as per the “plog” (planning log/flight plan):
“All of you are aware of our ongoing efficiency drive, particularly regarding fuel. The ‘plog+300kgs’ issue in particular has highlighted how further efficiencies are achievable and the number of ‘excess fuel carried with no explanation’ letters issued has fallen. There remain a small number of commanders who appear to have difficulty with operating with ‘plog+300′ or less.”
The memorandum then outlines some of the explanations that have been offered by flight commanders for taking on extra fuel which Captain McKeon says are not acceptable.
“The most unreasonable excuse is: ‘I like to land with three tonnes so I take the trip plus three tonnes.’ This is not Ryanair policy, this is completely unacceptable, and is not what you are remunerated to do.”
Let’s hope the weather stays good and no emergencies arise.