Was in the DESDI hold the other night, along with many other colleagues and in the throes of committing to destination with an EAT when in barrels an Italian sounding fellow who rankled quite severely upon being given an EAT himself. "I donna hav a da fuel to hold...!!" The local controller then asked "Are you declaring a fuel emergency?" The reply given was "I got no fuel to hold....." ie he had planned to arrive with nothing extra. He was immediately taken out of the hold and vectored for an approach with the controller declaring to all and sundry that there was emergency traffic. A controller change was made and the expat controller then questioned whether or not he was declaring an emergency. He again stated that he had no holding fuel and the controller declared an emergency on his behalf.....pound to a penny there were many of us who were in the hold on STATCONT fuel and were beginning to sweat a little. Surely if you pitch up into a holding situation without ANY fuel to hold then you simply accept your diversion? Or am I being too simplistic and hard on the guy all at the same time? His priority was now threatening everybody who had - or were about to -commit. Cant help wondering what effect will be with one or two emergencies declared when the entire stack is all on STATCON fuel and committed to DXB...
Why is a no-holding-fuel situation being seen as an emergency when he must have been carrying alternate fuel for just such an event? Couldnt help but feel cheated and ended up landing with 6 tonne in a 388 as a result......or about 10 minutes to final reserve. The midnight hold is just going to get worse and worse. Couldnt believe the controllers decision to declare an emergency on his part, either.
I understand that diverting is merely committing to another runway but you just dont pitch up into a known busy environment with no extra fuel and expect priority when you still have alternate fuel...not good airmanship. If you dont plan for it then why should you get the special treatment? Do others echo this sentiment or am I being too harsh? Discuss.
Ex380, Glad you mentioned 2% reserves, we had it the other day as well as part of a statcon flight but I can't find any reference in the OMA to us being able to be planned with anything less than the 3%, any thoughts??
Just for the sake of balance, I did a 14 hr ULR back into DXB last week with 1% statcon, we chocked on with the 1% and a couple of hundred kilos extra, I'm sure it had nothing to do with flying a bit faster than the single digit CI or descending faster than ECON
Yes - I too had a suck in of breath on the 2%. When I got to the the aircraft I looked up the STATCON FCI in FCI folder. There it does exclude the OMAs limits on the reserve fuel, ie the 3/5 %,20mins, or 5mins.
Have witnessed KLM do exactly the same as the rest of us got hour over Desdi for our 'airmanship'. He plonked in, declared he couldn't hold AT ALL. I had a giggle and thought 'he"s off to Abu Daabi', but nope, straight into 12L.
Not talking about DXB in particular but most of us mere mortals normally end up over destination, with BOF to alternate plus 30 mins holding. These figures obviously include the approach and the missed approach segments. So, what exactly is the suggestion here. That NO MATTER what the situation, if one is headed towards DXB, one MUST carry extra fuel towards any anticipated delay over DXB? If so be the case, why would the respective company(s) not include the 'anticipated extra fuel' requirment in the CFP. Anything below burn off to alternate plus 30 mins hold fuel(min fuel) and i'm already committing myself to land in DXB. Which means that if I decide to divert with min fuel from destination, I will be very close to declaring a Mayday when I arrive over alternate to land. NO delays acceptable. So what is the suggestion of this AIC. That I burn off my 30 odd mins hold fuel over DXB instead and then have an aircraft get stuck on runway during single rwy ops and then.....????! And what would the suggested extra fuel be per flight. Or is it a variable. And what BTW is 'statcon' fuel. Thanks.
Interesting story. I totally agree with your assessment. Not harsh at all There seems to have been several cases of aircraft jumping the queue at destination, in recent years, for no good reason, by declaring an urgency or emergency.
I'd like to know which airline it was. I doubt any airline has a fuel policy which involves declaring an emergency just because you have insufficient holding fuel. Aside from the AIC, the pilot was, almost certainly, not following his own company fuel policy.
If your story is correct, ATC have some questions to answer. After hearing that the pilot had no holding fuel, the controller should have asked him where he wished to divert. Then the controller's response should have been to offer him a heading to divert to OMRK, OMAL, etc. Not priority vectors to Dubai. Maybe the controller was understandably concerned for the safety of the passengers, perhaps due to the inadequate responses from the pilot. If so, then the pilot should be questioned. This needs a bit of investigation.
No, ATC don't have any questions to answer. The "Italian" captain has questions to answer. How much messing around should ATC go thru in order to determine if it's an "Avianca"-type event? He was asked TWICE if it was an emergency, without responding that IT WAS NOT. From wikipedia, 'aftermath' of Avianca...
After some deliberations, a settlement was reached in which the United States paid for around 40% of the settlements with the passengers and their families; the rest was paid by Avianca.
Following Flight 52, air traffic controllers were more conservative in determining if Avianca flights were running low on fuel and required priority landing. On June 22, 1990, a Boeing 727 was immediately cleared to land when the pilot declared a minimum fuel situation. In another instance, on August 4, 1990, controllers declared a fuel emergency for the pilot due to confusion over the remaining fuel. The jet landed with 2 more flying hours to spare."
So which is worse? To put 'some noses out of joint' with a queue-jump? Or have another language-based disaster?
If you don't think there are any consequences for the Capt. after a queue-jump...as I have suggested, give it a try sometime.
I think ATC acted appropriately. They could have continued to quiz the pilot whether it was destination holding or alternate holding (final reserve) fuel that he was running short of, up against a language barrier, and with the fuel continuing to burn - or they could err on the side of caution and bring him in and ask questions later. I suspect ATC declared an emergency on their behalf to ensure the incident was made official, and they didn't queue jump without having to do a lot of form filling and tough question answering from both authorities.
Last edited by midnight cruiser; 13th Aug 2012 at 13:15.
Can you justify burning into your destination reserves(ie the 30 mins reserved for alternate holding), and NOT advising ATC that you have 'no holding fuel'. I think if he was below his reserve fuel(alt+30 mins), he is completely within his right to say he has no holding fuel. And not declaring a Mayday either. Only qualifier would be that now,s since ATC would not give him priority, it would become the ATC headache to make sure he has a more or less confirmed landing at his destination. Whatever that might be.