On Tuesday a Ryanair flight that departed from Leeds-Bradford Airport was required to request permission to land in front of other waiting planes at Lanzarote’s Arrecife airport because it was low on fuel, a spokesman for the public airport authority AENA has told Spanish news agency Efe. The incident comes shortly after a government probe was launched into the low-cost airline for possible breaches of fuel-load safety requirements.
It is believed that the air control staff requested that all aircraft with scheduled landings around 4pm circle the easternmost Canary island as due to poor weather conditions a rescheduling of landings was required. At which point the captain of the Ryanair plane requested priority from the tower, stating his craft was “very light on fuel.” The request was authorized and the aircraft jumped to the front of the four airplanes waiting. The others, according to Las Palmas based newspaper La Provincia, were a Thompson flight from London Gatwick, a Condor from Frankfurt and another Ryanair that departed Bologna.
The controversial airline, previously criticized for obliging its pilots to take on the minimum amount of fuel possible to save money has been in the news in recent weeks after three of its aircraft were required to perform emergency landings in Valencia on July 26 due to an alleged shortage of fuel with an investigation by the Spanish Public Works Ministry currently pending.
The Irish company has however released a statement saying that Tuesday’s landing request was due to the dangerous weather conditions, rather than a lack of fuel, and sources have told Efe that this was not treated as an emergency landing request, rather just a solicitation for priority.