Agencies probe Ryanair emergency fuel landings

Spain’s aviation safety agency and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) are investigating three Ryanair mayday emergency fuel landings at Valencia’s airport.

The incidents three weeks ago were as a result of thunderstorms that forced the planes to divert from Madrid to Valencia — two of the three emergency landings happened within minutes of each other.

A spokesperson for the IAA said they were aware of the incidents and had been in touch with Ryanair.

“The IAA is conducting an investigation into the incidents and the circumstances surrounding them and has been in touch with the carrier.”

Ryanair said it had reported the emergency landings to the Irish and Spanish authorities, as well as the planes’ manufacturer, Boeing, on the day it happened.

A spokesperson said: “Ryanair has no problem, and will co-operate fully, with any investigation into the three emergency landings by Ryanair aircraft in Valencia on Jul 26 last. As required by safety procedures Ryanair reported these incidents to both the Spanish and Irish aviation authorities and will happily assist any investigation required into just three of Ryanair’s 1,500 daily flights on Jul 26 last.”

The three aircraft had been in a holding patterns for nearly an hour before they began to approach the minimum fuel planes are required to have on-board when they land. This fuel standard is the equivalent of 300 miles, or about 30 minutes’ flying time.

As the Ryanair planes approached the minimum requirement they requested permission to land immediately. EU regulations meant that Ryanair pilots were required to use the mayday call sign when making the request.

Ryanair said all three had “landed normally with minimum fuel levels remaining”.

The IAA said that airlines must ensure that a plane has sufficient fuel to fly from departure to destination airport plus a 5% contingency, as well as enough fuel to divert to a nominated alternate airport, hold at the alternate airport for 30 minutes, make an approach, and land.


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