Burning excess fuel.
I'm a bit surprised this would happen on an A320; the fuel intake flow rate is between 160 - 180 GPM. This is very slow, and almost anything that isn't a 757 will fuel faster, including most RJs.
Most of the time, when burning excess fuel off, it's because the fueler overshot. Going over by between 200 - 500lbs is no big deal and happens on almost every mainline commercial flight. A pilot looking at a final load will generally tell the fueler something along the lines of "great, have a good one" at that point.
However, an overshot of 1000lbs or more will be troublesome. At that point, you definitely have to offload, especially at an airport like SXM
, with it's child-size runway. This is a lot
slower than even the 320's intake flow rate; almost never
more than about 50 GPM. As well, fuel can only
be offloaded onto a tanker dedicated to that particular
operator. It cannot be off-loaded to a tanker shared with other airlines, and sure as hell not back into the hydrant. So, now we have to schedule a tanker to swing by and offload, assuming, of course, one is available.
Generally, as well, airlines will back-charge a fuel provider something like $1000/min for a delay (this is pretty std & we see the same for MX
, groundhandling, etc...). So, at the operations level, there's a hell of a lot of pressure to get that plane out, yesterday.
As you can see, except for very extreme cases, it's better just to cook off a few hundred, or even a thousand, pounds before takeoff. In fact, the only time I ever saw a tanker used to de-fuel an aircraft was in a case where a guy overshot a 757 by 30,000lbs. That's not a typo.
You Sir, are a very funny lady.