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Topic: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: LGWflyer
Posted 2011-12-18 15:22:46 and read 14016 times.

A BA 321 which was G-EUXH diverted here to LGW this evening after a fuel diversion, the aircraft was coming in from BCN and was heading to LHR.

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: Babybus
Posted 2011-12-18 15:26:07 and read 13987 times.

That must have been a fuel leak. How can you not carry enough fuel for such a short trip?

It will be interesting to hear the full story.

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: kgaiflyer
Posted 2011-12-18 15:29:39 and read 13969 times.

Given the range of an A321 (USAirways flies them PHL-SFO @ 4045 km ) isn't this a bit unusual?

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: marky
Posted 2011-12-18 15:50:27 and read 13845 times.

Quoting Babybus (Reply 1):
That must have been a fuel leak

I don't think so. Both LGW and LHR have suffered delays today due to low temperatures and runways requiring to be de-iced. A lot of aircraft had to hold for some time, and several easyJets bound for Gatwick diverted to Stansted.

A non-story as usual

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: Summa767
Posted 2011-12-18 15:53:14 and read 13815 times.

I wonder if it might have had to do with the strong headwinds that northbound flights have been facing today.

I just got back on a flight that should have taken 3 h 45 an had 45 mins on top due to 80 mph headwinds.

This, perhaps in combination with an uncertain hold might have contributed to the A321 diversion to LGW.

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: B747forever
Posted 2011-12-18 16:07:19 and read 13706 times.

Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 2):
Given the range of an A321 (USAirways flies them PHL-SFO @ 4045 km ) isn't this a bit unusual?

In this case the range doesnt really matter because they would not fill the tanks full on such a short flight.

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: RoseFlyer
Posted 2011-12-18 16:09:20 and read 13700 times.

I seriously doubt that it had to do with range of the airplane. Likely it was due to delays at LHR. My guess is that they did not anticipate a hold as long as was happening at LHR and they did not have enough fuel loaded. If they ended up declaring an emergency and diverting with low fuel to LGW, then it is lack of planning on BA's part as they should always have enough fuel for a missed approach and diversion to an alternate without hitting minimum fuel.

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: LGWflyer
Posted 2011-12-18 16:20:04 and read 13622 times.

Quoting marky (Reply 3):

I don't think so. Both LGW and LHR have suffered delays today due to low temperatures and runways requiring to be de-iced. A lot of aircraft had to hold for some time, and several easyJets bound for Gatwick diverted to Stansted.

Yes part of the main reason for the divert this evening was probaly due to the de-icing of the runways at LHR, and with loads of traffic holding it didn't help the situation.

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: lhr380
Posted 2011-12-18 16:30:46 and read 13549 times.

I heard at least twice LHR went down to 1 runway. I landed on KLM at about 1600 and we followed for a bit the deicer (Wondered what it was) And noticed planes were taking off and landing on the same runway.

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: LGWflyer
Posted 2011-12-18 16:33:29 and read 13538 times.

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 8):
I heard at least twice LHR went down to 1 runway. I landed on KLM at about 1600 and we followed for a bit the deicer (Wondered what it was) And noticed planes were taking off and landing on the same runway.

Wow not good time to go down to a single runway. I wonder if any other aircraft going to LHR had to divert or was near to doing so like the BA 321...

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: Pihero
Posted 2011-12-18 16:45:04 and read 13457 times.

Quoting Babybus (Reply 1):
That must have been a fuel leak. How can you not carry enough fuel for such a short trip?
Quoting marky (Reply 3):
I don't think so. Both LGW and LHR have suffered delays today due to low temperatures and runways requiring to be de-iced.
Quoting Summa767 (Reply 4):
I wonder if it might have had to do with the strong headwinds that northbound flights have been facing today.
Quoting B747forever (Reply 5):
In this case the range doesnt really matter because they would not fill the tanks full on such a short fli
Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 6):
If they ended up declaring an emergency and diverting with low fuel to LGW, then it is lack of planning on BA's part as they should always have enough fuel for a missed approach and diversion to an alternate without hitting minimum fuel.

Fuel planning covers data pertaining to the aircraft weight - and performance - and weather. Yoiu would not believe how accurate these winds-at-altitude charts are. What's left to the captain is the decision on how much fuel to carry for unknowns : ATC delays, operational requirements, airport-related delays like de-icing... It's always a balance between forecast and operational uncertainties . bear in mind that carrying extra fuel will cost more in terms of burn off.There 's a point at which it becomes not acceptable to carry too much fuel... a deviation to an alternate bercomes the...alternative.

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: haggis73
Posted 2011-12-18 17:12:33 and read 13290 times.

Due to long hold times at LHR.

http://www.thebasource.com/

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: BA777ER236
Posted 2011-12-19 11:09:15 and read 5989 times.

Quoting Babybus (Reply 1):
That must have been a fuel leak

Rubbish!

Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 2):
isn't this a bit unusual?

Not really!

Quoting marky (Reply 3):
A non-story as usual
Quoting Summa767 (Reply 4):
I wonder if it might have had to do with the strong headwinds that northbound flights have been facing today.

No!

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 6):
I seriously doubt that it had to do with range of the airplane

Correct!

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 8):
I heard at least twice LHR went down to 1 runway.

Ah, Now we are getting to the point!

Quoting Pihero (Reply 10):
Fuel planning covers data pertaining to the aircraft weight - and performance - and weather. Yoiu would not believe how accurate these winds-at-altitude charts are. What's left to the captain is the decision on how much fuel to carry for unknowns : ATC delays, operational requirements, airport-related delays like de-icing... It's always a balance between forecast and operational uncertainties . bear in mind that carrying extra fuel will cost more in terms of burn off.There 's a point at which it becomes not acceptable to carry too much fuel... a deviation to an alternate bercomes the...alternative.

As always Pihero, a cogent and logical professional opinion! I am certain that the captain was able to hold until Diversion + Reserve fuel and then decided to divert to LGW (probably decided well before). He/she would have landed at LGW with at LEAST RESERVE fuel (30 mins), which is the legal minima.

Sadly, the armchair pilots always wade in with 'odd' opinions on a professional's day out! It is mid winter in the UK and things don't always go to plan - here we have a prime example of how the fuels are calculated and a professional doing the right thing!

Cheers
 

[Edited 2011-12-19 11:20:53]

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: longhauler
Posted 2011-12-19 11:20:50 and read 5815 times.

I am not so sure it is the "armchair pilot" as it is the armchair pilots reacting to poor journalism.

Let's face it, the truth ... Which is most likely that the aircraft when entering into British airspace was told that the forecast holding times at LHR exceeded his holding capability with regard to fuel reserves, so he diverted to his alternate. I would guess that he never even came close to 'diversion fuel + reserves', he likely just thought there was no sense wasting time and fuel holding, and just went to LGW.

This does not sell newspapers.

And, yes it happens every day. Why don't the "armchair pilots" know that? Because it isn't news, it is a normal fact of safe aviation.

Remember, British Airways has an excellent safety record ... there is a reason for that!

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: LGWflyer
Posted 2011-12-19 11:23:29 and read 5773 times.

Quoting BA777ER236 (Reply 12):

As always Pihero, a cogent and logical professional opinion! I am certain that the captain was able to hold until Diversion + Reserve fuel and then decided to divert to LGW (probably decided well before). He/she would have landed at LGW with at LEAST RESERVE fuel (30 mins), which is the legal minima.

Sadly, the armchair pilots always wade in with 'odd' opinions on a professional's day out! It is mid winter in the UK and things don't always go to plan - here we have a prime example of how the fuels are calculated and a professional doing the right thing!
Quoting longhauler (Reply 13):

Remember, British Airways has an excellent safety record ... there is a reason for that!

Agreed.         

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: musang
Posted 2011-12-19 14:18:11 and read 3714 times.

The fuel decision philosophy clearly described by Pihero is pretty much industry standard. A related concept is Statistical Contingency Uplift, by which an airline predicts how much delay a flight will suffer taxiing out, enroute and holding, in addition to the obvious factors of payload and winds aloft. The historical fuel consumption of each individual flight is analysed over time, so that for example BA would, this evening, have predicted a fuel burn based on historical delays for that particular flight number, i.e. at that time of day, and factored that into the total fuel requirement for the flight.

Never flown Airbuses, but one might find that for the same aircraft, same load, same flight conditions, a morning rush departure might consume (a guess) 6000 kilos, while a mid day flight might consume 5800 kg.

The Contingency Fuel is an essential component of the fuel calculation. for the sake of the discussion lets say its 5% of the trip fuel as a legal minimum. The mid-day flight might well take just that. However a rush hour flight might have that figure massaged up to take account of typical delays.

The computer flight plan fuel total is thereby increased, and then the captain has the option to add more if he sees fit for en route weather, destination weather, increased burn due to a technical problem etc. etc.

The south of the UK is historically not as good as the north in reacting to even light snow/ice events, and it doesn't take much to throw a spanner in the works, although Gatwick in response to the debacle last winter has aquired a huge fleet of additional snow clearance vehicles, which recently have been proudly parked in a prominent postion near to the runway for all to see. I assume they were all hard at work today!

regards - musang

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: bennett123
Posted 2011-12-19 14:30:08 and read 3543 times.

Another factor, is that weather can rapidly deteirorate.

I recall on Friday morning.

The train got to Guildford, and everything looked OK.

But the time we got to LGW, it was practically a blizzard.

Topic: RE: British Airways A321 Low Fuel Divert To LGW
Username: DunaA320
Posted 2011-12-19 14:33:46 and read 3519 times.

I had a similar situation on my GVA-LGW flight, we only had enough fuel to hold for 5 minutes so diverted to STN.


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