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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Airlines told to prep for bad weather, carry fuel to fly to 2 other airports

Civil aviation regulator has asked the airlines in India to carry fuel for two alternate destinations considering adverse weather conditions in some part of the country.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2019 22:56 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
In a few cases investigated by the DGCA, it was found after landing that the airline had lesser fuel than what should have been the planned final reserve fuel.
In a few cases investigated by the DGCA, it was found after landing that the airline had lesser fuel than what should have been the planned final reserve fuel.(Satish Bate/HT Photo for representation)
         

Civil aviation regulator has asked the airlines in India to carry fuel for two alternate destinations considering adverse weather conditions in some part of the country.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a safety circular after investigating incidents where the crew have declared MAYDAY FUEL for seeking priority in landing either during adverse weather conditions or due to airport limitations.

It has also asked the Air Traffic Controller to facilitate early landing if crew declares ‘minimum fuel’.

“This is not an emergency situation but an indication that an emergency situation is possible, should any additional delay occur. The ATC should facilitate the early landing for the aircraft,” the circular reads.

In a few cases investigated by the DGCA, it was found after landing that the airline had lesser fuel than what should have been the planned final reserve fuel.

“Investigation of these incidents have revealed deficiencies in fuel planning, crew decision making and support provided by the ATC. In some cases, fuel carried on-board did not cater for second alternate. Also, Crew did not declare MINIMUM FUEL to ATC and after a crew has declared a MINIMUM FUEL, ATC has given additional clearances resulting in further depletion of fuel,” the DGCA said.

The DGCA guideline also prescribes the minimum fuel requirements for the operation of aircraft. During adverse weather conditions or aerodrome limitations conditions, it says, the airline second destination alternate should also be factored during the flight planning stage.

This has come at a time when airlines are testing operating flights without carrying fuel for the alternate destination to save fuel and reduce its carbon footprint.

As per the current regulations, every flight has to plan an alternate route and carry enough fuel to fly to the destination and the alternate. This means the aircraft carries additional fuel back and forth which is redundant if there is no diversion from the intended destination to the alternate.

“The heavier the aircraft, the more is the fuel consumption. Provisions exist in the regulations to despatch flights without an alternate, without compromising on safety issues. The trial for this was successfully completed,” said an aviation ministry official.

First Published: Jul 05, 2019 22:56 IST

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