By Rund Abdelfatah
RYANAIR may lose its licence to fly in Spain for three years after three planes diverted from Madrid to Valencia on the same day.
Three Ryanair planes were forced to land in Valencia on July 26 as a result of bad weather over Madrid.
The aircraft were given landing priority after their pilots issued ‘Mayday’ calls indicating they were running low on fuel.
They were placed in a holding pattern in the air before landing safely at Valencia’s Manises Airport.
Following a complaint made by the Spanish CEACCU consumer association, the Spanish Airport Authority issued a denuncia to the State Air Security Agency who launched an investigation on August 9 to probe why the low-cost carrier needed to make three emergency landings in one day.
However Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara denied they were emergency landings, insisting they were ‘normal’.
He said: “All Ryanair flights operate with the required levels of fuel. This includes the fuel needed for travelling on the runway, the flight, re-routings, diversions, and unforeseen events.”
The Official College of Commercial Aviation Pilots (COPAC) suspects that the airline may be prioritising economic efficacy above safety, as less fuel means less weight and lower consumption.
If the investigation reveals irregularities in the company’s conduct, the airline could lose its operating licence to fly in Spain for up to three years and face a fine of €4.5 million.