Ryanair’s statement on FR 8347 - 14th February 2014
Due to strong winds across the South of England (14 Feb) over 20 airlines were forced to divert into Stansted from Heathrow and Gatwick airports which significantly disrupted handling and fuelling operations at Stansted. This Ryanair flight from London Stansted to Porto was delayed by the weather disruption and a subsequent fuelling delay at the airport.
After approximately two hours waiting for fuellers, the Captain requested the handling company (Swissport) to allow the passengers into the terminal which was locked. The Captain switched on the aircraft’s air conditioning while waiting for Swissport staff to arrive and the cabin crew provided water to passengers. When Swissport failed to arrive the Captain requested the police to let the passengers into the locked terminal. The police subsequently arrived and allowed the passengers into the terminal. Passengers were then provided with refreshment vouchers on Ryanair’s instructions.
The aircraft departed the following morning at 7.50am. Ryanair sincerely apologises to all passengers on this flight who were affected by this delay.
Ryanair wishes to correct several false claims in relation to this incident;
- The claim that passengers had to call the police is untrue – the Captain called the police.
- The claim that the air conditioning was not switched on is false – the Captain switched on the air conditioning.
- The claim that passengers were held by Ryanair against their will is false – the Captain made every effort, first with the handling agent (Swissport) and then with the police, to arrange for passengers to be allowed into the terminal which was locked.
- The claim that passengers were not provided with refreshment vouchers or water is untrue – Ryanair crew provided water to passengers on board and refreshment vouchers were issued to passengers following disembarkation.
Swissport Statement re delay to Ryanair Flight FR 8347 on 14th Feb 2014
The weather on Feb 14th has been recognized as one of the worst to hit the UK for decades with high winds causing travel chaos across the country.
Stansted Airport was one of the few airports around the country that was able to accept some diverted flights despite some reservations regarding the availability of turn-around facilities.
Due to extreme weather the inbound flight from Porto was initially diverted to East Midlands and arrived some 3 hours later at Stansted to collect the passengers for the flight to Porto.
Swissport and the airport were under considerable pressure with 30 additional diverted flights in addition to scheduled aircraft.
The flight was loaded, but fueling was not available. This caused the delay. Swissport staff were under extreme pressure dealing with an unprecedented level of flights and whilst we accept we should have unloaded the passengers sooner we simply had no one available to unload when contacted by the Captain.
Swissport regret any delay to passengers and to Ryanair. However, in extreme circumstances, our staff worked tirelessly to ensure that diverted flights were dealt with as soon as possible.
We are disappointed that even under these extreme conditions we fell short of our usual high standards.