01/06/2012

Two pilots found it too windy to land.

This paper states today that the "Andrea" gale force winds caused problems at Zurich airport, but that there were (almost) no problems at Geneva airport. Not the whole truth!


I get used to reading in the Geneva press how there are almost never any problems at Geneva airport, yet seeing evidence that indicates otherwise: the case of the a morning snowfall on Monday and Tuesday a few weeks ago, causing multiple easyJet (very) late departures, is fresh in my mind. Today, 6 January, is yet another example: this paper reports that the strong winds of the "Andrea" gale yesterday caused four aircraft landing in Zurich to have to abort a landing, whilst a fifth was diverted to Munich. The actual text is as follows :-

"Rien ou presque à signaler en revanche du coté de l'aéroport de Genève"

20120105-EZS1534.jpgIn fact, Geneva had two aircraft abort a landing and go around again, whilst another two diverted to Lyon. As is pointed out in today's edition of 20 Minutes, on one of these two flights, the easyJet Switzerland flight EZS1534 from Brussels, the passengers had a scare when the pilot aborted the landing, had a brief think (as might be indicated by this trajectory!) and then opted to head for Lyon. The report in 20 Minutes suggests that many passengers then preferred to come to Geneva by bus, rather than in an aircraft: the actual aircraft did later return to Geneva, but with a different callsign which suggested that it was empty.

The other diversion was an Air France flight AF2442 from Paris a bit earlier in the day. When I looked up the trajectory of that flight it was clear that once the pilot aborted the landing he headed straight for Lyon without any hesitation. Maybe, being in all likelihood French, he knew Lyon rather better than Geneva.

One airport that seems to have been badly affected was Amsterdam, where numerous afternoon flights were delayed or cancelled. Included in the Geneva-Amsterdam cancellations were two KLM round trips and one easyJet round trip.

Curiously, yesterday we also had a case of a flight being diverted from Basel to Geneva. It looks as if the Swiss flight LX1935 from Barcelona to Basel, using an aircraft apparently owned by British Midland, came instead to Geneva. It then left as British Midland flight BMA162: a flight normally from Basel to London Heathrow. The departure was not flagged on the Geneva flights information.

The strong winds also caused an accumulation of delays through the day, resulting in Geneva residents being able to hear four incoming flights after midnight.

So it was not quite a normal day at Geneva!

17:54 Posted in Special days and notable incidents | Permalink | Comments (2) | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

Comments

I was on that easyjet flight from Brussels to GVA (well, sorry, Lyon) flight the other day which you refer to... The pilot said that he had immediately decided to divert to Lyon as the weather wasnt due to get any better.. My father (waiting in GVA) was told we were low on fuel so presumably Go-arounds would have been risky.

I was surprised that no other flights were diverted - the approach was far bumpier than any I have experienced in 20+ years of flying - the majority of which were to GVA; numerous drops and strong cross winds with noticeable rudder correction. I had an over-wing (emergency exit) window seat and could get a good picture of what was going on.

Some of the other passengers, it is true, seemed to have a problem with flying back east to GVA after a quick refueling n Lyon. Annoying to say the least as it meant we then ALL had to get off and give up! But i guess you cant force people..

Oh well. Thanks for the article. interesting to see.

Posted by: William | 01/09/2012

Thanks for the comment. The aircraft trajectory made me think that the pilot hesitated a little. I guess that I can understand the people who had had enough of flying that day.
I find it hard to believe that the plane was really low on fuel, since even in normal conditions a last minute event can make landing impossible, so the aircraft must have easily enough fuel to go elsewhere (in this case Lyon).
My major grouse is that the airport information NEVER suggests that anything in Geneva is less than perfect, and their web site provides no general information.
Let us hope ther will be nothing like it for another 20 years (though two such gales so far this winter makes me worry that the climate is changing to more extremes!)

Posted by: Mike Gerard | 01/09/2012

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