Ryanair emergency landing due to low fuel

A Boeing 737-800 operated by Ryanair, the World’s most hated airline, was recently forced into declaring an emergency and landing at an alternate airport due to being too low on fuel.

The Ryanair flight on the 14th May was due to fly between Stansted and Alicante in Spain but ended up landing safely in Valencia, which is about 70 miles away.

Upon it’s initial attempt to land on runway 10 at Alicante Airport (LEAL), the aircraft experienced windsheer and was forced to go around for another try. This time the crew decided to use runway 28 but again experienced similar wind conditions and aborted the landing.

A “Pan” call was made by the pilot to indicate urgency due to the fact that they were now below the final fuel reserve and the aircraft was diverted to Valencia. But on the approach the situation was upgraded to a full emergency by making a “MAYDAY” call.

After the landing, the final fuel quantities were checked and it was found that there was just 440kg in tank 1 and 470kg in tank 2. The central fuel tank was empty.

The crew re-fueled and continued to Alicante where they arrived over 2 hours late.

Thank goodness for the sake of the passengers that this delay resulted in no trumpet fanfare being played!

An investigation by the Spanish Civil Aviation Authorities is underway.



15 thoughts on “Ryanair emergency landing due to low fuel

  1. As a Ryanair pilot, explain to me how this is Ryanair’s fault? This is a weather related fuel emergency, the crew did the right thing and diverted. Its not a lot of fuel, but they didn’t have many other options by that point. You’d be surprised how many fuel emergencies are declared throughout Europe in the average week. I can assure you we are as professional as any other pilots and while you can make whatever you may of the company/customer service/charges etc, please don’t automatically assume that makes us pilots any less professional.


  2. Hello Dave,

    Thanks for your comments. Hoping you can elaborate a little bit?

    Please can you explain to us where we have apportioned any blame in the article towards anyone?

    Can you also explain please, as a Ryanair pilot, how it came about that “there were not many options by that point”? What was the root cause here? Lack of fuel or weather?

    How many fuel emergencies are there in an average week? What is Ryanair’s average compared to other airlines?


  3. With regards to this website as a whole, whoever created it, GET A LIFE!!! If you’ve got a problem with Ryanair why not write directly to them, what use is it to anyone slating the airline on a website?? It’s hardly going to sort your problems is it?? I admit I do now have connections to Ryanair (although am not employed by them) but can assure you before I did I had flown with them many times, cheap flights, compared to the rip off costs of other airlines, not one of those flights was late, that is the honest truth and the service onboard was nothing but friendly and professional. Though I’m sure from time to time delays may occur, that’s life and not necesarily the fault of the airline, it’s the same with any airline. Yes it’s no frills and people may get pissed off with this but that’s what happens with budget airlines and if you want a cheap fare that’s how it’s got to be. With so many other airlines going bust in these difficult times you should be supporting such an airline or before we know it we’ll be left with the likes of BA, strike after strike not to mention high fares. How exactly can they be better than Ryanair? For the record too all pilots no matter what airline they work for have to gain their CPL before they can even apply for jobs, therefore you certainly cannot distinguish between a Ryanair pilot or any other. Remember it’s been a difficult year for aviation and those employed in the industry and the least you could do would be to show some support and get over your petty whining! Rant Over. Thanks.

  4. I was on that Ryan Air flight and I would like an explanation as to why we went for miles out to sea after the first aborted landing and were not told for some time what the problem was. We were only offered SICK bags and after finally landing at Valencia were NOT even offered a drink of water.
    When the landing was aborted we were extremely close to the ground and must have been literally seconds from the runway. Please can someone explain to me why the gust of wind was not felt by myself as a passenger on that plane.

  5. Dear Sarah,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. We can assure you that we have a life so please don’t worry your pretty little head about that.

    You are correct in establishing that we have a problem with Ryanair. We did write to them but never had a reply. We think this method has probably caught their attention though eh!?!

    Sarah darling, would you mind clarifying your “connection” to Ryanair? We are sure our readers would love to know exactly what this is.

    Your “rant” is typical of the PR drivel that spouts from Ryanair HQ. Almost rehearsed. The fact of the matter is that people are systematically ripped off by this shoddy excuse of an airline.

    We don’t deny that you can get a “fare” of 1p to some godforsaken destination in the middle of nowhere. It’s the transparency of the fees and charges on top plus the tactics used to extort further money through tripping people up with bogus rules and regulations that gets people wound up.

    We’d suggest that perhaps it is you Sarah that needs to get a life as your current one is obviously somewhat blinkered or perhaps even brainwashed by Ryanair. We’ll show our support by flying with proper airlines from and to proper airports.


  6. Dear Admin

    I feel that I want to leave sensible comments but when you openly allow intelligent bullies like Pauline Winfield to belittle us all with her general condescending de-meaner, I mean, who does she think she is; I feel sick!

    Perhaps, in a moment of what could only be described as a pure and utter evil irony, she has mixed upper and lower case letters together; perhaps a deliberate ploy to fool us into thinking she’s an idiot, well, she hasn’t fooled me! Pauline Winfield, I’m on to you!!

    Kind regards,


  7. GET a LIFE! FIRST noone knows precisely the amount of fuel in the tanks and first there is no main TANK! Second if you have a mistead approach CAPTAINS dont explain straight away as they are occupied and a lot of comments you do ITS A LIE because you or NOBODY knows from passengers details. JUST CREW AND FLIGHT CREW and CAA or Spanish Authority. SO PLEASE FUSTRATED PEOPLE or if YOU DONT LIKE RYANAIR don´t make comments like this JUST SHOWS YOUR LACK OF EDUCATION. DON`T FLY RYANAIR that is the most checked AIRLINE in EUROPE and flies beside all checks because they fly like normal airlines with the safety requests.

  8. Well, you might say that this was due to bad weather conditions, as opposed to Ryanair deliberately flying on empty tanks. In all fairness, this could have happened to any airline. I am not a big fan of Ryanair, but they are dirt cheap, sometimes cheaper than a local bus fare. Nice blog though, worth reading!!!

  9. 1)We need clarify what the weather condition does in relation to low fuel
    2) What was the direct cause of this urgent landing?
    3) How did Ryan Air handle the situation?

    I have flown countless times in my life, and I have never had any emergency landing due to low fuel – so my question is how it was caused and how Ryan Air reacted to it.

    Also, as a passenger I would want to get an explanation. I also expect the minimum level of “service” (just water or some food).

    For those who tell people to get a life here -
    If you have a life and tell us to get a life, I don’ t understand why you have time to come here and leave comments. I am here knowing that I have a life but I wanted to say something. This is just like any other sites where people can address what they want to say. If you feel like wasting your time, you should move on to Face Book or My Space and tell your friends that “I just left a comment on a site where people have no life”, that information should be valuable and your friends think you have a life.

  10. I’ve never flown with ryanscare, and intend to keep it that way.

    It’s a common issue to keep fuel down the the usage+ statutory safety margin. In days gone by, Capts used to put an extra X% over and above for this very reason… But as that’s weight and affects performance ($$$fuel) they now err towards the lowest possible. Not long ago a BA Concord ran out of fuel taxiing across Heathrow! It happens.

    Yes, ryanscare has a bad reputation, but I can’t see their pilots being as bad as the cabin crew and management.

  11. Qué grande y qué bien me parece que exista gente como tú, señor administrador. Que somos un atajo de borregos que nos dejamos guiar por los peores pastores existentes… en otras palabras. Ole tus cojones al DENUNCIAR los abusos a los que nos vemos sometidos por las empresas y subvencionados o consentidos por la administración, los gobiernos. VIVA LA LIBERTAD DE EXPRESIÓN. Y de nuevo Olé por tu Blog Olé Olé. By the way, there is A LOT Ryan Air has to work on to keep on making bussines in the near future, and I hope they take a note on that. Passangers WE will take the first step NOT FLYING WITH THEM. ¡Salud!

  12. Hi

    I fell across this whilst doing some research…. thought i would help a few of you out.

    I am a First Officer for a UK lowco airline in the UK (NOT Ryanair). The Flight Training Organisation that i went to involved many pilots that went on to be employed by Ryanair and can i just say that you have a very highly skilled and well trained set of pilots up on that flight deck so please do not worry about that.

    The reason your aircraft went “Miles out to sea” and “were extremely close to the ground and must have been literally seconds from the runway” is because each airport has what we call a “missed approach” which means when the aircraft gets to a “Decision Height! (about 200ft from runway) we have to decide whether it is safe to land or declare a missed approach. This can be because the runway may of had a gusting crosswind of over 35knts which is the limit for a 737-800 (which i guess you were on). By doing a missed approach you should be thanking your air crew as they were doing the right thing and not putting your safety into jeopardy. We can only declare a missed approach twice before we automatically HAVE to divert to our secondary airport choice.

    1) you were close to the ground (decision height) and pulled up because that was the captains decision to declare a missed approach
    2) you went miles out to sea because we have to follow a missed approach pattern to bring us safely downwind back around to that runway again without interfering with departing and approaching traffic

    As for fuel………………We have set flight fuel which is planned using cruising altitude, air density, actual ground speed, wind, temperature, weight and pressure………….THEN we also have Holding fuel allowance and secondary airfield allowance……..You used the fuel load to bring you to Alicante…..you then used up the holding fuel declaring two missed approaches….. and you went to a secondary airfield so landing that aircraft with TINY amount of fuel is STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES!

    not one airline in this continent will over-fuel their aircraft…..google the price of kerosene and the taxes that go with it…..and then ask why so many company’s fold…….ANSWERED…

    Nothing here jabbing Ryanair……..Or personally Targeting any of you

    Just want people to know the operation. Hoped this helped :)

    Happy Flying

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