Coveman
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Cost to return to airport

Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:37 pm

In addition to fuel, what are the cost considerations in deciding whether or not to return to the airport almost immediately after takeoff due to a medical emergency?
 
mxaxai
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Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:29 am

Re: Cost to return to airport

Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:20 pm

In a medical emergency or other safety related reason, costs typically do not factor into the decision. In the end it's down to the captain, obviously, but most would rather save a passengers life than care about the cash.
 
hitower3
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Re: Cost to return to airport

Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:28 pm

Dear Coveman,
First of all, the urgency of the medical condition of the patient is assessed. If it is a serious condition to require immediate treatment, bringing the patient quickly to the doctor on the ground takes priority over economic considerations.
The only issue the flight crew needs to consider is a possible exceeding of the maximum landing weight. This can be handled by either:
- dump fuel (if the aircraft provides that feature)
- burn off fuel (if time permits)
- land overweight (if runway is long enough; also will require a specific post-landing inspection)

Hope this helps,
Hendric
 
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zeke
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Re: Cost to return to airport

Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:07 pm

Coveman wrote:
In addition to fuel, what are the cost considerations in deciding whether or not to return to the airport almost immediately after takeoff due to a medical emergency?


The safety of all of the passengers and crew, and the aircraft, not just a single person.
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stratclub
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Re: Cost to return to airport

Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:57 am

True, but it only takes one person in distress to declare an emergency and potentially require a landing at the nearest airport.
 
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zeke
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Re: Cost to return to airport

Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:09 am

Nearest airport is not something we would consider, it would be the nearest suitable.

Also depends on the passenger, those with known terminal illness also waive in flight diversions as part of their conditions of carriage.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
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Semaex
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Re: Cost to return to airport

Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:18 am

Coveman wrote:
In addition to fuel, what are the cost considerations in deciding whether or not to return to the airport almost immediately after takeoff due to a medical emergency?


"Whether or not" is in most cases not a consideration. What has to be done will be done in order to save a life. But I assume that was bad phrasing on your behalf ;)

Another thing to take care of in an emergency: Crew duty. If you are on your fourth or fifth rotation of the day, a diversion may well mean that the aircraft has to stay overnight at the diversion airport, or another crew has to proceed to the aircraft. Time and cost consuming for sure.
// You know you're an aviation enthusiast if you look at your neighbour's cars and think about fleet commonality.
 
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OneSexyL1011
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Re: Cost to return to airport

Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:23 am

Coveman wrote:
In addition to fuel, what are the cost considerations in deciding whether or not to return to the airport almost immediately after takeoff due to a medical emergency?

At my airline, zero. Cost isn't considered at all.

What we do consider is what facilities and medical services are available for any destination in mind. (passenger specific). Obviously safety is number 1 priority operationally.
 
mmo
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Re: Cost to return to airport

Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:31 am

Semaex wrote:
Another thing to take care of in an emergency: Crew duty. If you are on your fourth or fifth rotation of the day, a diversion may well mean that the aircraft has to stay overnight at the diversion airport, or another crew has to proceed to the aircraft. Time and cost consuming for sure.


I disagree. In all my diversions, I have never considered the knock on effects of the diversion. If I am out of crew duty, then it's Crew Scheduling's problem. That is what you have reserves or airport standby for. I would put that consideration in the came category as costs. If you run an airline, that is the cost of doing business.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
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Semaex
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Re: Cost to return to airport

Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:20 am

mmo wrote:
Semaex wrote:
Another thing to take care of in an emergency: Crew duty. If you are on your fourth or fifth rotation of the day, a diversion may well mean that the aircraft has to stay overnight at the diversion airport, or another crew has to proceed to the aircraft. Time and cost consuming for sure.


I disagree. In all my diversions, I have never considered the knock on effects of the diversion. If I am out of crew duty, then it's Crew Scheduling's problem. That is what you have reserves or airport standby for. I would put that consideration in the came category as costs. If you run an airline, that is the cost of doing business.


I understand the concept of "airport standby". But we're talking about diversions here. I know OP asked about a diversion to the departure airport. But if you were to divert inflight to some airport that has no crew based whatsoever, it can definitely cause problems.
As a dispatcher in business aviation, I know how problematic diversions can be. Thankfully had no medical diversion yet.
// You know you're an aviation enthusiast if you look at your neighbour's cars and think about fleet commonality.
 
mmo
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Re: Cost to return to airport

Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:28 pm

Semaex wrote:
I understand the concept of "airport standby". But we're talking about diversions here. I know OP asked about a diversion to the departure airport. But if you were to divert inflight to some airport that has no crew based whatsoever, it can definitely cause problems.
As a dispatcher in business aviation, I know how problematic diversions can be. Thankfully had no medical diversion yet.


Never did say what airport I was talking about and that was on purpose. You would normally have standbys at a hub and it's quite easy to get them to a destination from a hub. Even if it is an offline station, you can get them to the nearest connecting point and then off to the destination from there. So, if it's a diversion to the departure airport or even to an offline station, it really makes no difference at all.

Again, the cost of a diversion, especially in a critical medical emergency is not even a factor. If, all things being equal, a choice is for a online station or offline station, you would be having a nice chat with the Chief Pilot if you went offline, but that is what you have dispatchers for, to provide the information so you can make an informed decision. But it's still my decision.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
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Web500sjc
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Re: Cost to return to airport

Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:46 pm

Generally, in a diversion, the first priority is to take care of the immediate issue, and then to worry about the continuation of the flight afterward the problem has been handled. But rarely are flights diverting to the nearest airport, most likely the nearest online or significant airport.
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