A MAJOR investigation was prompted after an aeroplane was forced to make an emergency landing at Mallorca airport ‘39kg below its final fuel reserve’ – just 30 minutes of flying time left.
The Jet2 flight from Glasgow to Palma de Mallorca was forced into prolonged holding patterns over the Pyrenees due to severe thunderstorms and hurricane-force winds battering the island.
The August 27 flight, carrying 187 passengers and six crew members, circled the mountains at 35,000 feet for an hour before issuing a ‘fuel Mayday’ and making a desperate bid to land.
It safely touched down three and a half hours after leaving Glasgow, on a route that normally takes less than two and half hours.
Over 50 flights were cancelled and 18 others redirected away from Palma de Mallorca airport due to the storms that day.
On the ground, a P&O Britannia cruise ship collided with another vessel off the coast of Palma after its moorings snapped, resulting in a number of passengers suffering minor injuries.
According to a preliminary report by Spanish aviation authorities, the flight ‘landed at eleven twenty’ in Palma de Mallorca ‘without incident, but with 39 kilograms less fuel than the final reserve fuel.’
The flight’s distress call was made because, as per procedure, if an aircraft is predicted to have less fuel upon landing than the planned final reserve fuel, the pilot-in-command must declare a fuel emergency.
The Acting Minister of Transport, Mobility, and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez Jiménez, confirmed that no injuries occurred during the incident, and the aircraft was undamaged.
The fuel carried by aircraft is highly regulated, with the final reserve fuel being the absolute minimum required for an aircraft to remain safely airborne.
Jet aircraft like the Jet2 plane need 30 minutes of fuel for such emergencies.