TAP under investigation for landing with “fuel emergency”

In the wake of the tragic plane crash in Colombia on Monday, Lusa news agency reports that Portuguese airline TAP has also been caught out with a fuel emergency.

One of its A-319 airbuses was forced to make an emergency landing at Spain’s Santiago de Compostela airport on October 10.

But whereas the Colombia crash appears to have been down to a complete lack of fuel, TAP’s dilemma never posed any kind of danger to passengers.

The plane “declared a ‘mayday’ emergency” when flight deck estimates showed that the Funchal-Porto flight “would be landing with a fuel level below the 989 kgs established in the operational flight plan”.

Put more simply, planes are legally bound to land with sufficient fuel for 30 minutes in the air, and TAP’s airbus landed with fuel that would have lasted for another 29 minutes.

A source has since reiterated that “all protocols were complied with” and that at no time was the flight’s safety compromised.

“The action of the TAP pilots was exemplary”, added the source.

But an inquiry was instigated on the day of the impromptu landing, and a final report has yet to be made public.

Meantime, the shock over how LaMia Airlines flight 933 literally fell out of the sky has affected passengers throughout the globe – with thousands wondering whether the plane they are about to take has enough fuel on board, or is saving time and money on streamlined flight plans.

Leaving Lisbon yesterday an Azul airlines flight to Brazil was forced to turn back after the pilot reported a technical fault in the hydraulic system.

National tabloid Correio da Manhã reports that many of the 250 passengers “cried with relief” when they touched down safely back in the capital.

“We were very nervous”, said one. “And we started wondering whether the problem the pilot described really was the problem, or if it was something worse.

“Lots of things passed through our heads”, he added.

Passengers were taken to hotels overnight and should have re-embarked on their journeys today.

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