§ Mr. Bob Russell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many investigations have been held in the past year into aircraft arriving at UK airports with a fuel level lower than that required; how many have been in respect of aircraft landing at(a) Heathrow, (b) Gatwick and (c) Stansted; if he will investigate recent reports concerning an aircraft from Malaysia Airlines with nearly empty fuel tanks; and if he will make a statement. 245W
§ Ms Glenda Jackson
In the past year, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has completed an investigation into a report by NATS of an air traffic control occurrence involving an aircraft landing at Gatwick low on fuel following its diversion from Manston. The AAIB report will be published in June.
The AAIB is also currently investigating a further air traffic control occurrence report that an aircraft arrived at Stansted from Glasgow with fuel at the minimum level set out in the relevant company fuel policy, following a diversion from Gatwick; their report will be published in due course.
The recent allegations concerning an aircraft of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) was not the subject of a formal occurrence report, but came from a confidential source. We have drawn the allegations to the Malaysian aeronautical authorities who are investigating the reported incidents. DETR and Civil Aviation Authority officials have also discussed the allegations in detail with representatives of the airline. MAS has co-operated fully in reviewing their fuel policy and examining why, on a very few occasions, low fuel levels may have been recorded at the completion of a flight. MAS has offered to provide weekly reports of fuel levels for all its aircraft on arrival in the UK and this has been incorporated into their conditions for operating into this country.
In light of these recent allegations, the Civil Aviation Authority is to carry out an increased number of inspections of long haul aircraft arriving in the UK in the coming weeks, as part of a programme of checks on foreign aircraft at UK airports.
§ Ms Glenda Jackson
There have been no reports received in the period since 1 January 1997 of aircraft arriving at Luton or Stansted with empty fuel tanks.
There has been one report of an aircraft arriving at Stansted from Glasgow on 12 September 1998 with fuel at the minimum level set out in the relevant company fuel policy, following a diversion from Gatwick. This incident is subject to an investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch; their report has not yet been published.
One report has been received of a light aircraft landing at Luton low on fuel.