Thursday, January 24, 2013

► EGYPT: AlMasria Universal Airbus A321 declares fuel emergency after protracted military exercises exceed their time allocation.

AlMasria Universal Airline
Bungling on behalf of air traffic control at Cairo International Airport almost caused a serious incident today when an AlMasria Universal Airbus A321-200, (MSN 666 | SU-TCC) operating flight UJ-107 from Yanbu, Saudi Arabia to Cairo, was forced to declare a fuel emergency after a forewarned military exercise at the airport, surpassed its allocated time.

According to the Aviation Herald:
A321 SU-TCC (Jetstar)
"The aircraft, amongst others, entered a hold at FL210 and was provided with an estimated approach time of 10:37Z. The aircraft however was still in the hold at 10:37Z with the airport remaining closed, the crew inquired about an estimated approach time and was told 10:53Z.
Other crews already began to prepare diversions, the Almasria crew also considered their options for a diversion and indicated they would need to divert at the latest at 10:44Z. ATC assured they would commence their approach before that and the crew decided to remain in the hold.
At 10:44Z, the airport was just about to resume operations taking aircraft one by one, UJ-107 was still in the hold at FL210, the crew complained they had now exceeded their diversion time, now needed to land in Cairo and declared emergency.
At 10:48Z, 21 minutes after joining the hold, the aircraft was instructed to leave the hold and was vectored for a safe landing on Cairo's runway 05R about 14 minutes after leaving FL210 and about 4 minutes after scheduled arrival at the gate.

A number of aircraft had already diverted to Alexandria (Egypt) at that time. The crew of another aircraft, having their estimate just pushed from 11:01Z to 11:11Z, complained "at 11:01Z our fuel was already critical and now you delay us again by 10 minutes? Come on, this is aviation, guys!"
The aircraft eventually touched down in Cairo at 11:11Z."