08/06/2012

Casablanca to Lyon via Geneva

Passengers on the AirArabia flight from Casablanca to Lyon on the evening of Saturday 4 August dropped into Geneva airport, then finally left here 50 minutes after midnight.


The late evening of Saturday 4 August was full of noises, not all of which were expected. That day was the first of the annual Fêtes de Genève fireworks over the lake, marking the real start of the 10 days of festivities. The weather gods then decided to add to the event with an impromptu thunderstorm around midnight, and then jet aircraft taking off over Vernier after midnight added a last-minute flourish to the day's noise.

20120804_MAC2341.JPGThe more interesting of the two takeoffs after midnight was that of an Airbus A320 of the Moroccan company AirArabia. This seemed to be on a routine flight from Casablanca to Lyon until, having just crossed from Spain to France at 36000 feet altitude, it turned east towards Marseille. Then, over Nimes, it turned north towards Grenoble, dropping down to only 13000 feet as if a landing was being envisaged in that region (Grenoble or Chambéry). However, after circling over Grenoble it headed North, still at quite a low altitude, before landing in Geneva at 11 pm. It then left for Lyon 50 minutes after midnight.

Such a late departure (more than 30 minutes after midnight) would have required special permission from the airport authorities. I assume that in due course (perhaps before September) an explanation for this permission will appear on the airport web site. This explanation might indicate why the passengers were not sent by bus from Geneva to Lyon, with the aircraft following them the next morning. I might hazard a guess of a medical emergency, but that is pure speculation.

The other very late departure, at 10 minutes after midnight, was that of a Bombardier BD-700, a small private jet aircraft owned by Credit Suisse and operated by the Geneva-based operator Albinati Aeronautics company. If my memory serves me right, it is not the first such late departure by aircraft of this operator. However, all attempts to establish the reasons for such late departures of private jets with very few people on board regularly meet a wall of silence (pun intended!).

 

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