05/10/2011

Contaminated fuel at Tel Aviv : the epilogue

The easyJet A320 Airbus finally got back from Tel Aviv, having been grounded there for nearly 4 days after the contaminated fuel incident there. A costly affair!


I wrote last Friday, 6 May, about the contaminated fuel incident at Tel Aviv airport, one consequence of which was that the return flight EZS1526, of the easyJet A320 Airbus HB-JZR, from there had to be cancelled. Yesterday, 9 May, this A320 Airbus came back from Tel Aviv as ferry flight EZS8001, landing in Geneva at 6pm. This means that it was out of action for about 4 days. It seems quite probable that other aircraft may also have been out of action for some similar period of time, which in turn means that some airlines will be asking for a lot of money from the management of that airport.

Since easyJet Switzerland has recently had no spare aircraft here in Geneva, the parent company in the UK sent out a replacement aircraft for the use of easyJet Switzerland: initially the UK A319 Airbus G-EZIZ, then later the UK A319 Airbus G-EZEZ. Also, during this absence, the only other A320 of easyJet Switzerland, HB-JZY, was used for flights normally operated by HB-JZR. One must hope that the flights which HB-JZY would have operated were not booked up to an A320 capacity, since that would have probably meant refusing some passengers.

After flying 4 rotations yesterday, G-EZEZ was flown back to the UK as ferry flight EZY8002, taking off from Geneva at 10h56 pm, i.e. a night flight take-off. I do not quite understand why this was necessary, since the fourth rotation of G-EZEZ could have been done with HB-JZY, which came back from Tel Aviv at 18h32 and did not fly again. Thoughtless planning?

Another disturbing observation is that, according to my reading of the regulations, ferry (repositioning) flights are not normally permitted at night (between 10pm and 6am): they can only operate with a special derogation from Geneva airport authorities. Thus, both this ferry flight and a similar one of G-EZTR on 6 May must have been given such derogations. These two are to be added to four other easyJet ferry night flights (two take-offs and two landings) since the beginning of 2011. That suggests to me a remarkable leniency towards Geneva's pet airline!

Have I misunderstood the ferry flight rules?

 

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