Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Ryanair - running out of fuel

An earlier blog concerning Ryanair drew attention to their employment practices that may increase flight safety risks. The cost-cutting airline in in the news once again having been exposed to urging pilots to fly with the minimum fuel reserves.

In a strongly worded report Spanish safety investigators said that “market competition” was forcing airlines to carry less emergency fuel to improve competitiveness. And they warned that air traffic controllers might not be able to cope if, due to bad weather or a closed a runway, they were faced with multiple planes trying to land with minimum fuel levels on board.

One memo warns pilots that any attempt to routinely take on more fuel than is operationally required is a “zero tolerance” issue. “The routine carriage of 300kgs of extra fuel is discouraged,” Ryanair’s base captain wrote. “If we all carry 300kgs of (extra) fuel on each sector we burn an extra 7.5kgs of fuel unnecessarily. That is 19,500kgs wasted across the fleet daily… Simple maths works out that costs the company $5m each year.”

 Another memo to Stansted pilots stated: “All of you are aware of our on-going efficiency drive particularly regarding fuel… There remain a small number of commanders who appear to have difficulty with operating with [planned fuel requirements] plus 300kgs or less.”

 A Ryanair plane landed at Valencia airport in 2010 carrying less than the legally required amount of fuel. The report concluded that the cause of the incident was the crew’s “inadequate decision-making process”.

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