Chock

Any idea why this occurred?

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Tonight at work we had Thomas Cook request if they could divert a flight to us at Manchester from Banjul-Yundum which was bound for Birmingham, owing to low fuel, but it is actually further to us at Manchester. We've been scratching our heads trying to figure that one out. Anyone got any ideas? It definitely isn't weather, nor fuel availability. What else could be a reason?

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Well, that does seems little odd  -  thought it might be runway length but both airports feature 10,000+ feet runways... Maybe more favorable approach vectors?

 

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Yeah, we thought it could be the STARs too, but we got the route flight plan etc up on our system, printed it off and looked up the STARS and it's not that either. In fact, both STARS which were in use at Manchester and Birmingham at the time even include a radial waypoint from the same location (Honiley) and from there it's almost straight in to Birmingham aligned with the runway whereas its a lot of turns to align with Manchester's 23R, which was in use at the time, and that would be whilst in a dirty config too, so it'd most likely use more fuel coming to Manchester than going to Birmingham as far as we could tell. A few of us took a copy of the route and load sheet etc, so we could replicate it on a flight simulator and see if anything else crops up which might point to why they'd want to make such a diversion when it doesn't appear to make any sense.

In case anyone is curious as to why it ran low on fuel, it's an A321 which makes the flight, one of a few TC has which are equipped with extended tanks, which it needs because it usually flies that trip right on the ragged edge of its pax, bags and fuel capacity, so that route is only just within the aeroplane's range, and if it had hit a headwind off North Africa, which is quite conceivable because there is some iffy weather around there at the moment, that would presumably eat into its endurance. We said they'd be better off using a 757, but unfortunately they can't because TC got rid of most of theirs, only the German Condor part of the airline has 757s now, which I think are based in the Balearic Islands although we did have one fly a special football flight to Manchester last week when Bayern were playing Liverpool.

Anyway, it's a bit of a puzzler for sure.

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If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that it is possible that there was a possibility of arriving BHX with less than the legally required fuel (i.e. reserve + alternate).

However, a diversion to MAN would mean that only final reserve fuel would be required on touchdown at MAN (and if that diversion was initiated early, because the alternate fuel in the FP is predicated on a go-around at the original destination followed by a climb and then route to the alternate, staying at cruise level longer and routing directly to the alternate would make the figures even more favourable).

Could be wrong, however.

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Legally required fuel is just reserves, it’s perfectly legal to throw away your alternate and use the fuel for something else.

The only thing I could think of is if there were delays published, expected or notified at BHX. They would probably have to take them into account in the fuel planning which may have made BHX too much fuel. MAN, even if it was further, with no (or at least less) delays, could have been less fuel.

Without talking to the crew, though, we’ll never really know...

 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/3/2019 at 4:21 AM, Chock said:

Tonight at work we had Thomas Cook request if they could divert a flight to us at Manchester from Banjul-Yundum which was bound for Birmingham, owing to low fuel, but it is actually further to us at Manchester. We've been scratching our heads trying to figure that one out. Anyone got any ideas? It definitely isn't weather, nor fuel availability. What else could be a reason?

Was it late or on time?? 

Crew based at bhx or Manc?? 

I'm clutching at straws with a theory here with trying to fudge a delay code with a FTL issue.  Id need to see what they done for 7 days to see if there close to busting  60 or if they've  gone over the 13 on the day. 

A Banjul and back must be tight on FDP surely. 

 

Edited by tooting

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Posted (edited)

another theory.. something wrong with the a/c and want to use the TCX  hanger in Manchester and not BHX ??

By declaring low fuel to the controller and not a fuel emergency you dont have to report it ?  the two are separate things?

who did they tell "low fuel"  ??  you or the controllers ??    

They could of told you a fuel divert but the controllers operational reasons..

also what was the a/c and crew meant to be doing the following day ??   maybe the a/c was needed in manchester the next day due a/c swaps etc etc so easier to bus a load of passengers from MAN-BHX  than to ferry an aircraft and waste a crew that you had pencilled in for something else.

theres a million and one different reasons for things.  its not as linear as one might think.   Even pilots sometimes dont get the bigger picture of Ops.

Edited by tooting

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I'm with Pete on this one. I was on a BOAC VC-10 flight (long ago) from London to Dhahran on which they had an inflight mechanical problem. The pilots told us that they were going to land in Bahrain (about 30 miles further) instead due to fog at Dhahran. Well as we flew over Dhahran you could see the runway lights clear as can be. Turned out BOAC had a maintenance facility at Bahrain and not at Dhahran. We had to overnight in Bahrain and get a puddle jumper back the next day. My Dad was happy because he could buy a beer there (alcohol is forbidden in Saudi Arabia) and I was happy because the puddle jumper was a DC-3.

Ted

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