10/20/2010

Air France aircraft stopping in Geneva to fill up?

On Monday a couple of Air France aircraft from Paris made unscheduled landings in Geneva. Did the fuel gauge light give a warning?


This week from Monday 18 October 2010 has been very much affected by the protests in France over the pension reform plans of the Government there. Although the real action, including air traffic controllers, only started on the Tuesday, I did notice that a couple of Air France Airbus A320 aircraft made unscheduled (and unpublicised) stops in Geneva.

Air France flight AF1590, from Paris (Charles de Gaulle airport) to Istanbul, landed at 12h19 and left again almost exactly one hour later. Just 20 minutes later, at 12h38, AF2378, from the same Paris airport but going to Naples, did exactly the same manoeuvre. In neither case was there any information on the Geneva airport web site.

It could, of course, be a coincidence, and the reasons could have been technical. However, the idea that the aircraft may have left Paris without a normal load of fuel is an entirely plausible explanation for this. After all, as the media have reported, many French automobilists are choosing to fill the car in Switzerland.

I tried to see whether eny similar thing happened on the rather chaotic Tuesday, but have no evidence of any similar behaviour. However, when trying to look for all the movements on the airport Web site I initially saw a message stating that

An unexpected errror occured (sic) on the site, we thank you for your comprehension.

When I retried the connection, and after the habitual slow response time, things worked again and confirmed that about a dozen return flights, including 10 easyJet flights, had been cancelled. Note that the airport report on the TV teletext stated that a dozen flights had been cancelled: a little misleading!

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