View Full Version : FR Compromising Safety - Surely Not!!

31st Aug 2008, 11:23
Would you wish to fly on an airline that dictates minimum fuel requirements over and above the captains knowledge and experience??.

As read in today's Sunday Times: Ryanair fuel ration angers pilots - Times Online (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/transport/article4641399.ece)

Ryanair pilots have denounced as “insane” attempts to pressurise them into flying with less fuel by imposing a cap on their safety reserves.

The low-cost airline is saving money by curbing the discretionary rights of pilots to request extra fuel.

The disclosure, made in internal company documents seen by The Sunday Times, has led to claims that the safety of passengers is being compromised as the price of oil soars.

Details of Ryanair’s policies emerged as the Civil Aviation Authority revealed that the number of emergencies declared in British airspace because of fuel shortages had doubled in five years. Last year, 27 planes were given the right to make priority landings, up from 11 in 2003.

Under European rules, every plane must carry a “contingency” load of about 5% of a trip’s fuel, and enough to divert to an alternative airport. Across the airline industry, captains also have a duty to anticipate delays from headwinds, storms and rerouting, and to request extra fuel to cope with this.

Pilots at Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost airline, must now abide by a limit of 300kg of extra fuel, costing £180. This provides about five minutes of extra stacking time for a Boeing 737.

Evan Cullen, a pilot with 19 years’ experience and president of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association, said commercial pressure on pilots to pare down the fuel they carry was compromising safety.

The internal Ryanair memo, sent to pilots in May, reveals that the company insisted that any request by a captain for extra fuel should be the “exception”. It referred to the 300kg maximum.

The memo shows that Ryanair is issuing warning letters to pilots who request extra fuel without explanation. Pilots claim such letters can be used in disciplinary proceedings.

The pilots have responded by complaining in anonymous postings on the Ryanair European Pilots’ Association website.

One says: “It is insane to push pilots to fly with the minimum fuel and take the risk of ending with a low fuel situation and maybe no place to go because the only diversion airport within reach will be mobbed by other aeroplanes.”

Pilots say Ryanair ranks them according to how much extra fuel they use. A spokesman for the airline rejected the pilots’ claims as “anonymous, unverified and inaccurate”. He said: “No pilot is allowed to fly with minimum fuel as these clowns claim.”

He admitted, however, that pilots were allowed extra fuel only in “exceptional cases”. He said Ryanair had suffered one Mayday in the past three years caused by fuel shortages.

A spokesman for the CAA said it would not comment because Ryanair’s fuel policy was monitored by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).


tony draper
31st Aug 2008, 11:32
Summat I don't understand, surely any reserve left in the tank at the end of the voyage means that less is needed to fill up the tanks again?

31st Aug 2008, 13:21
I am afraid that it costs fuel to carry fuel and the bean counters do not like that. Safety for them is OK as long as it is cheap. Oh and they aren't on board of course:ugh:

31st Aug 2008, 16:38
If the extra fuel's not used, then it's not an expense. just an investment. If it is used, then perhaps it prevented a forced landing.

Factors in the equation are

Different fuel prices at dfferent airports; ie tankering fuel to a more expensive airport saves money.

Cost of carrying the extra weight. Not nearly as high a cost as some would have it, but a cost none-the-less.

Loss of payload. Potentially the highest cost of uplifting extra fuel, BUT probably not a factor on fairly short routes. (ZFW, and so on, for those who are interested).

Setting an arbitrary limit to "extra fuel", on cost grounds, is nothing more than bean-counters stupidity, driven by ignorance of aircraft operations, risk management and economics. It is potentially very dangerous, but ONLY if a Captain agrees to operate with less than what his judgement tells him is the minimum safe fuel load.


2nd Sep 2008, 15:00
Reminds me of an old phrase: "If you think flight safety is too expensive, you should try an accident...":sad:

3rd Sep 2008, 22:35
I can accept a lot of what Ryanair stipulates as being normal procedures.

But I cannot accept their version of minimum fuel. That is ALWAYS the captain's decision!

3rd Sep 2008, 23:15
This is not the place for reasoned aircraft flight operations to be discussed, it's up to us all to ensure that the beancounters get shagged into place, and stay where the **** they should be, behind their desks paying involves and actually getting a good fuel hedging deal!

It's about time that we operational folks stick our oar in and get the shag nasties put in their place, MOL has his place, and that ain't in an operational area, best leave him to offer "free blow jobs" in a German press briefing.

PS: An admition, I did like that German press briefing though!

4th Sep 2008, 12:39
so your fleet has 16 large (H) aircraft- each one doing 2 sectors a day and each sector takes 2000 kgs extra fuel,thats 64000 kgs a day extra or 448000 kgs a week-say at 1150 usd a tonne thats nearly 1/2 mio usd a week extra fuel uplift and you burn 4 per cent to carry it thats 20000 usd a week or 1mio
a year ...

god its frightneing being a bean counter

i can see where they are comin from tho.