01/26/2013

easyJet empty flights to and from East Midlands airport

This year already, two different easyJet Switzerland aircraft have gone empty to Leeds and stayed a week. Maintenance there?


Last year, the UK airport of East Midlands had winter flights to Geneva operated by British Midland International (bmi). Having now been integrated into British Airways, these flights no longer operate: instead, East Midlands to Geneva is operated by Jet2.

Since the start of this year, two aircraft of easyJet Switzerland have flown empty to East Midlands, spent a week there then returned empty to Geneva. Since bmi used to have an aircraft maintenance base there, it would seem as if easyJet is using those maintenance facilities.

The latter of the two aircraft to go there (the Airbus A319 registered as HB-JZS) returned last Monday, 21 January and started to operate flights the next day. However, on Thursday 24 January it flew to Amsterdam, but did not return the same day. Instead, it returned empty from there the day after. One would assume that it had a technical problem, and someone might be asking how come this was so soon after the week in East Midlands!

The lack of that Airbus for much of the Thursday gave a good illustration of how complicated it is to keep servces going. easyJet Switzerland had to ask the UK parent company to send an aircraft to Amsterdam to operate the return flight scheduled for HB-JZS. This aircraft arrived in Geneva at 9h35 pm, dropped off the passengers from Amsterdam and flew empty back to the UK at 10h27 pm.

There was a further knock-on effect when it seems that there was no suitable spare aircraft to go in early evening from Geneva to London Gatwick and back. I guess that the company needed one of the larger Airbus A320, but the only available aircraft in Geneva was only an A319. As a result, a UK-based A320 instead came from London Gatwick to Geneva and then went back (full), taking off at 11h28 pm.

There have actually been a very high number of empty flights to or from Geneva this year, operated  by easyJet: I have registered 35 so far this January. Last year there were only 3 in the same period. This may well be because easyJet are learning to handle the unavailability of aircraft in a better manner. Obviously, there have been some very delayed flights, but few cancellations (other than for snow conditions in Europe).

Swiss also are seen to operate quite a few empty flights (15 so far this year), mostly between Geneva and Zurich. In relation to the number of aircraft based in Geneva, the proportion is very similar.

I regret that airport neighbours are disturbed by the occasional takeoffs late at night of empty aircraft, which are considered by OFAC as being commercial flights.

22:46 Posted in easyJet anecdotes | Permalink | Comments (0) | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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