FlyBoy747
Topic Author
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Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:16 am

Good Evening,

After reading a few interesting threads on here about what airport airlines set up for diversions it had me thinking. Here's a situation I would envision:

~ Captain must get the airplane on the ground, ASAP. Maybe medical or mx related.
~ Only airport available or closest is one with little ground crew and is not served by the airline or any airline partners and this aircraft type has never seen this airport before.
~ They land and deal with situation and still have duty time to make it to original destination (maybe not possible but we can pretend cant we?) - or - They land and the airline decides to put them up in the area and leave the next day after required rest.

Maybe because of a weird weather pattern or some unforeseen event, they need some fuel or ground help, but no regularly contracted people are at this airport; here comes my question(s):

1. How do they determine what the crew available can do?
2. If they can assist and do; are there prepared contracts or something similar to sign that allows for payment from the airline. Or does the Captain have authority to use a company credit card or something similar?
3. Do pilots have special training to perform functions like fueling at airports with limited help?

Thanks,
FlyBoy747

Personal Note: Thanks for all the information over the years. I've learned much about the aviation would through reading hundreds of posts on here! Airliners.net has been my #1 bookmark for well over 5 years now. It's great to see such a lively community.

As always, if this should be moved to a different forum...mods please do!
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2175301
Posts: 715
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 11:19 am

RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:22 am

I am quite sure that every airline has an "unusual event" response center - and the minute an aircraft has to put down in a non-major airport with limited resources that the response center is starting the research on what resources exist in the immediate area for most routine tasks, or for any known issue with the aircraft. The response center would then contract with whatever help they needed. If needed - there are darn few places in the US where an appropriately trained crew from a larger airport could not be mobilized to in 8 hours or so for most routine items. That includes a loaded fueling truck if needed.

If overseas.... Every year or so there are reports of passengers using their personal credit cards to buy fuel or other services to get an aircraft on its way. The airlines always directly contact the credit card company and get the charges transferred to them (or makes payment arrangements).

Have a great day,
 
nutsaboutplanes
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RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:01 am

There are also a lot of occasions where no billing takes place for anything but the fuel. The industry is quite generous with these things as every airline knows that being hard to deal with will end up biting you when you need help later. We have serviced VX and G4 diversions (marshalling/ gating/ pushback only) with only a phone call from the OAL ops asking for assistance.

Most airlines have nationwide contracts with fuelers like ASIG and Swissport so billing is already set up for fuel which is easily the largest expense.
American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, USAFR
 
PHX787
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RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:41 am

Quoting nutsaboutplanes (Reply 2):
There are also a lot of occasions where no billing takes place for anything but the fuel. The industry is quite generous with these things as every airline knows that being hard to deal with will end up biting you when you need help later. We have serviced VX and G4 diversions (marshalling/ gating/ pushback only) with only a phone call from the OAL ops asking for assistance.

I've heard of this too. I recall someone telling me when BA diverted to PHX once for med reasons, they waved all the fees at PHX, and the fuel was discounted so there was essentially no profit to the fueling companies (just the base price of fuel itself).

I also read about how someone landed somewhere with a heart-attack patient on board and the local fire department paid for the gas bill and other fees. It was a very nice gesture. I am going to have to search where I found that
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Lofty
Posts: 489
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 5:23 pm

RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:10 am

A couple of years back a B747 diverted into one of the former USSR countries due to a Fire Indication in the hold.

It had the following hanadling issues.

No steps to reach the B747 - I understand wooden boxes on the back of a truck was used.
No hotels - Pax and crew stayed on board overnight.
Runway too small - The airline flew 2 Airbus to Moscow and operated shuttle flights. This reduced weight and allowed extra staff to be flown in.
 
tp1040
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:30 pm

RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:42 pm

Had an AA (Chautauqua) EMB-145 make a fuel diversion to GSO. Our destination, RDU had a thunderstorm that caused us about an hour delay of circling. AA (Chautauqua) does fly to GSO, but Chautauqua flies there for USAir.


Of course, as soon as we touched down, the weather cleared, but it was too late for fuel minimums. We sat on the ground for a hour while the pilot, GSO and the company worked who was paying. Summertime hot, so the cabin door was opened, couldn't run the A/C. Pilot joked about his credit card limit was high enough or we could take up a collection.
 
Maverick623
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RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:37 pm

Quoting FlyBoy747 (Thread starter):

1. How do they determine what the crew available can do?

They ask them. Fueling an airplane or operating the doors is not really rocket science.

Quoting FlyBoy747 (Thread starter):

2. If they can assist and do; are there prepared contracts or something similar to sign that allows for payment from the airline. Or does the Captain have authority to use a company credit card or something similar?

Usually, there's no charge for ground handling if it's another airline working an emergency. FBOs may or may not have charges, depending on the contract (or lack thereof). In the case they do, and/or fuel needs to be paid for, a corporate credit card will be used, with the information transmitted by the airline's ops center... flight crews do not normally carry corporate credit cards.

Quoting FlyBoy747 (Thread starter):

3. Do pilots have special training to perform functions like fueling at airports with limited help?

Pilots are very much aware of how to fuel their airplane.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
okay
Posts: 597
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:11 pm

RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:33 pm

Here is a clip of Finnair operations center. I would assume every airline has something similar.

Finnair operations center
 
26point2
Posts: 808
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:01 am

RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:33 pm

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 6):
.......rocket science.

Rocket Science is not a "science", it's an Engineering discipline.
 
max999
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RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:04 am

Quoting FlyBoy747 (Thread starter):
~ Captain must get the airplane on the ground, ASAP. Maybe medical

Speaking of billing. If it's a medical related diversion (like a heart attack), do the airlines ever bill the sick passenger for the costs? Or is that considered too cruel to blame a sick person so the airlines just pay for it out of their pocket?
All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening.
 
ADXMatt
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RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:52 am

If the airport is in our "ops specs" then we already have a database of available services.

In the event you go to an airport with no "partners" and you end up at the FBO it's not a big deal.

Major Airlines have "contract fuel" that is accepted my almost every FBO out there. At least in the states. We just need the contractor( i.e. World Fuel Services) fax them the authorization.

For services provided by the FBO for ground handling the Manager of Dispatch would pay via corporate card over the phone should we not have direct billing with the provider.

Quoting max999 (Reply 9):
Speaking of billing. If it's a medical related diversion (like a heart attack), do the airlines ever bill the sick passenger for the costs? Or is that considered too cruel to blame a sick person so the airlines just pay for it out of their pocket?

At my airline we don't bill the patient. It's a cost of doing business. We also assist them in getting to their final destination once they are better.
 
ridgid727
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RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:41 am

Quoting adxmatt (Reply 10):

For services provided by the FBO for ground handling the Manager of Dispatch would pay via corporate card over the phone should we not have direct billing with the provider.

We do mostly ACH transfer not corporate credit cards, and I think most airlines operate that way.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:40 am

Quoting max999 (Reply 9):
If it's a medical related diversion (like a heart attack), do the airlines ever bill the sick passenger for the costs?

Airlines don't bill passengers for diversion costs. Even those diversions that are caused by the passenger's direct inappropiate behavior.

1) Most passengers done have easy means to pay the full costs of a diversion,
2) What a potential PR nightmare for the airline if the passenger goes to the media about the 'cruel' airline,
3) Even if the airline tried to recover the costs, it would likely end up in court, and the airline legal fees could quickly add up to more than the cost of a diversion. That would only mean the airline loses more money.

It's just a lot easier and cheaper to make the diversion, and assume the costs. As mentioned above - it is a 'cost of doing business'. If an airline accountants and budget folks don't plan for a certain number of diversion each year, they aren't doing their jobs properly.

At the most, an airline will assist in having charges preferred against a passenger who cause a diversion if possible.
 
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EK413
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RE: Emergency Diversion; How To Settle The Bill?

Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:29 am

In most cases the airline deploy a replacement crew & aircraft with the diverted aircraft ferried to base. Again, depends on the root cause for the diversion.

EK413
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