12/21/2011

easyJet cannot handle snow!

Last Monday and Tuesday mornings it snowed a little. Although the airport pretended that all was well, most easyJet flights were very late or cancelled.


It was quite obvious, in looking at the earlly Monday and Tuesday morning departures of easyJet Switzerland flights for which the aircraft was already here overnight, that easyJet has no way of preparing all these flights (de-icing, clearing snow off the wings etc.) simultaneously. Whilst a very small number left not too long after their scheduled time (but long enough to be classified as late), the delays on others were between 1 and 2 hours, even sometimes more.

Almost exactly a year ago, annoyed at the discrepancy between the airport description of the situation and the reality, I wrote a blog entitled

Is Geneva airport not responsible for de-icing?

In this I noted that the airport claimed that responsibility for preparing aircraft for their departure was entirely in the hands of the airlines concerned. Of course, some may outsource this task, but for an airline as important as easyJet one could expect it to be done properly by a suitably trained organisation not limited to one or two aircraft at a time.

The actual timing of the first morning departures of easyJet Switzerland aircraft seems to prove that it was not possible to get all the aircraft (between 10 and 12) ready somewhere near their scheduled time. This, of course, had a vicious knock-on effect for the rest of the day (missed flight slots), with the inevitable result that some flights were cancelled, whilst others came back very late (several after midnight). Of course, Murphy's law also applied: one easyJet flight to Tel Aviv had to turn around after 2 hours and return to Geneva (not obvious why), whilst another one (one of the early departures) stayed all day in Rome for some unknown reason (I don't think that it snowed there).

I can surmise that to have the capacity to prepare around 10 aircraft early (just in case it is a snowy morning) could be quite costly. How might that cost compare with the cost of the delays and cancellations (especially if passengers claimed compensation according to the official rules!)?

In my opinion, instead of continually insisting that all is well, when it quite clearly is not well, the airport management should have the courage to read the riot act to easyJet Switzerland (with a report also to OFAC). Regrettably, I do not consider this as likely!

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