Fjm1982
Topic Author
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:15 am

Ryanair diverting to Arlanda

Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:01 pm

I have a query regarding the usage of divert/alternative airports in relation to a Ryanair flight I took a few years ago from Stansted to Stockholm Skavsta, that perhaps a better informed member may be able to help me with.

It was winter time, and Skavsta was closed at the last minute just prior to our arrival because of the deteriorating weather conditions. After a bit of time wasting in the air we were informed that we would divert to Arlanda.

I remember thinking how this is going to hit O’Leary in the pocket as Ryanair, at that time, didn’t have any association with Arlanda (probably still doesn’t) and I assumed that a rogue Ryanair aircraft landing there would incur a multitude of top price fees etc. not to mention subsequent relocation. Am I right in assuming that it would have cost them a lot of money, or can they insure themselves against such eventualities?

I was surprised that we didn’t go to Västerås or Gothenburg City as these were regularly served by Ryanair, and I again assumed that because of their established business there, it would have been cheaper. But perhaps they too were closed, being smaller airports without the snow clearing abilities of
Arlanda.

If a divert/alternative airport is selected during the flight planning stage by the crew, does a prior agreement have to be in place between that airport and the airline? Or can they choose anywhere within reason, regardless of how limited the landing slots may be at that airport?

Being Ryanair, I didn’t hold out much hope for any assistance once we deplaned, but then again I didn’t really care either having paid £17.99 for the ticket thus I just headed to the train station to sort myself out. Would the airline have had to provide some sort of help for the rest of the passengers such as an appointed agent and/or bus services to the original destination (despite the better public transport links between Arlanda and Stockholm compared with Skavsta and Stockholm)?

Around the time the British media were running their latest anti-Ryanair campaign of aircraft nearly running out of fuel etc; the usual sensationalised bile written by ill-informed “travel correspondents” whom would be better suited to recommending family breaks in the Algarve rather than delving into the technicalities of air travel. I think it was these definitely newsworthy articles that got me thinking about it In the first place.

Any thoughts or info will be gratefully received.

Thanks
 
Flow2706
Posts: 174
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:20 pm

Re: Ryanair diverting to Arlanda

Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:24 pm

It's really depending on the company. I have never worked with Ryanair so I don't know their policies. In my previous airline the airport requiring the least amount of alternate fuel was usually chosen (obviously, it had to be "legal", i.e. sufficient runway length, fire fighting capability, pavement strength etc.). Diversions are relatively rare so many airlines prefer to save some flight on each flight and then pay a bit more in the eventuality of a diversion. However, if a diversion seems to be more likely than usually at the dispatch stage already (f.e. high wind speeds, winter operations etc.) the Captain would usually have a chat with the Dispatch to see what Alternate would be most suitable for the airline. As the Captain is the final authority concerning the operation of the aircraft he has the authority to change the alternate if he deems it necessary. I did so once - I noticed that we didn't have charts available in our EFB system for the planed alternate, I had a short talk with Dispatch and they apologized and changed the alternate (apparently the system does not "know" which charts are available and the dispatcher didn't notice either until I called him).
 
Fjm1982
Topic Author
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:15 am

Re: Ryanair diverting to Arlanda

Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:34 pm

Flow2706 wrote:
It's really depending on the company. I have never worked with Ryanair so I don't know their policies. In my previous airline the airport requiring the least amount of alternate fuel was usually chosen (obviously, it had to be "legal", i.e. sufficient runway length, fire fighting capability, pavement strength etc.). Diversions are relatively rare so many airlines prefer to save some flight on each flight and then pay a bit more in the eventuality of a diversion. However, if a diversion seems to be more likely than usually at the dispatch stage already (f.e. high wind speeds, winter operations etc.) the Captain would usually have a chat with the Dispatch to see what Alternate would be most suitable for the airline. As the Captain is the final authority concerning the operation of the aircraft he has the authority to change the alternate if he deems it necessary. I did so once - I noticed that we didn't have charts available in our EFB system for the planed alternate, I had a short talk with Dispatch and they apologized and changed the alternate (apparently the system does not "know" which charts are available and the dispatcher didn't notice either until I called him).


Thank you for the reply Flow, interesting stuff.
 
B777LRF
Posts: 2264
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 4:23 am

Re: Ryanair diverting to Arlanda

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:11 pm

Fjm1982 wrote:
I have a query regarding the usage of divert/alternative airport

...I assumed that a rogue Ryanair aircraft landing there would incur a multitude of top price fees etc. not to mention subsequent relocation. Am I right in assuming that it would have cost them a lot of money, or can they insure themselves against such eventualities?


As with many things the answer is "it depends". I know nothing of available handling agents at Bromma, but Arlanda is pretty well covered by both local and global handling companies. It's possible Ryanair might leverage existing contracts they have with company X, if they are a costumer of company X in enough airports around Europe. If not, they'll pay the sticker price. All airports will have a set of regulations and practices, which determines who gets to handle a diverted aircraft. In practice it's a guy from airport operations calling the duty manager(s) of the handling company(ies). First one to say yes gets they job.

Fjm1982 wrote:
I was surprised that we didn’t go to Västerås or Gothenburg City as these were regularly served by Ryanair, and I again assumed that because of their established business there, it would have been cheaper. But perhaps they too were closed, being smaller airports without the snow clearing abilities of
Arlanda.


There could be a ton of reasons why they opted for ARN instead of ORB or GOT. Whether, fuel, aircraft status and time are the main drivers of the decision making; commercial considerations are (or, rather, should) only be taken into account thereafter.

Fjm1982 wrote:
If a divert/alternative airport is selected during the flight planning stage by the crew, does a prior agreement have to be in place between that airport and the airline? Or can they choose anywhere within reason, regardless of how limited the landing slots may be at that airport?[


No, there's no requirement to have handling agreements.

Not all airports are suitable as a diversion airport, one reason could be they're slot restricted, and you know there's a fair chance diverting in that direction will end in holding patterns and winding radar vectors. Not what you want if you're diverting after a 2nd approach and is rapidly getting nearer to minimum fuel. Emergencies are of course different; you go to wherever you please* and ATC will clear the way for you, in order to get you on the ground in the fastest possible time.

*There are places around the world where this is not equally well accepted.

Fjm1982 wrote:
Being Ryanair, I didn’t hold out much hope for any assistance once we deplaned, but then again I didn’t really care either having paid £17.99 for the ticket thus I just headed to the train station to sort myself out. Would the airline have had to provide some sort of help for the rest of the passengers such as an appointed agent and/or bus services to the original destination (despite the better public transport links between Arlanda and Stockholm compared with Skavsta and Stockholm)?]


The airline still has a duty of care, and any airline worth their salt would have been on the phone to a ground service provider at the diversion airport, just as soon as they found out. That's one of the reasons you have airline people on the ground keeping an eye on their aircraft in the skies.
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