Hollywood would have you believe that pandas make great Kung Fu artists but it’s not true. Likewise, passenger jets don’t make great gliders. Now will someone please tell Ryanair that?
Ryanair – loved and hated in equal measure. This is the kind of company that likes to brag about its low cost credentials. To me, having the qualities of a cheap carrier bag that you put your heavy shopping in is not how I’d want my company to be viewed. Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary seems happy to accept that applause coming from the cheap seats.
Even though most of us are low-cost holiday addicts there is a line and Ryanair have (allegedly) crossed it.
A report by the Spanish pilots union has accused the budget Irish airline of flying planes with near-empty fuel tanks. So what? That’s what happens when your plane is coming to the end of its flight, right? Yes but it would seem that Ryanair have been deliberately reducing the amount of the fuel their aircraft carry – before taking off. Why? To save money.
Ironically, it would appear that even the safety measures are low cost!
Obviously, Ryanair have denied the accusations but are they moving from no-frills to the ultimate thrill? The airline denies any wrong-doing and insists its planes are safe and carry sufficient fuel reserves.
Rules state that an aircraft must carry enough fuel for the duration of the flight plus a reserve. On top of this, each plane should have what is called a ‘contingency amount’ that covers being held in holding patterns, diversions, course changes, etc.
Rumours of Ryanair’s ‘ultimate thrills’ approach to aircraft fuel started to circle following a number of incidents where some of their planes were reroutd due to bad weather. In Spain, on the 26th July, three flights were the subject of a ‘fuel emergency’ after being diverted from Barajas airport. One of the three planes was found to have less than the minimum fuel reserves required under aviation rules.
Given the rivalry between budget airlines and Spanish aviation companies it’s easy to understand why Ryanair is shouting the odds about conspiracy theories. What’s more telling is that one of the long knives tickling Ryanair’s ribs is being guided by the hands of Irish pilots. The IALPA (Irish Airline Pilot’s Union) claims that Ryanair has been telling pilots to carry on the minimum amount of fuel required. Apparently, fuel is expensive!
Ireland’s Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport issued a joint statement with the Spanish Ministry of Development to say that they would be investigating Ryanair’s operation in Spain. After they’ve had a siesta.
Do you need to worry or is it all just a storm in a cockpit? You have to admit that three emergencies in one day is bad enough. 3 emergencies in less than twenty minutes smells worse than my trainers after a 20 mile run. If the allegations are true there are some serious questions that Ryanair needs to ask itself. What if it’s not only fuel that this budget airline has cut back on?
What if they’ve been reducing maintenance levels? The required maintenance that ensures an aircraft is safe to fly in.