Is it true that Ryanair flies without any fuel reserves so they get priority to land?

I was told that they declare an emergency for landing because of low fuel levels, that is why they always arrive on time. A pilot friend of a friend told me that, but I am not sure... I used to fly with that company because it was cheap, but now I changed my mind.


closed as off-topic by mins, Simon, SMS von der Tann, J Walters, Steve V. May 31 '17 at 22:20

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    $\begingroup$ Absolute nonsense. You would be better asking on Sceptics.SE or snopes.com. Several years ago, they had a few emergencies close together but the regulatory bodies do what they do and ordered them to review their policies, which they did. If they did this as a matter of course, they would be closed down. $\endgroup$ – Simon May 31 '17 at 13:49
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    $\begingroup$ The FAA would have a field day with them if they declared emergencies for every landing just to get priority. There are reserve requirements and they must land with them or face regulatory action. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer May 31 '17 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ In all jurisdictions in which Ryanair fly, the minimum amount of fuel they must calculate and carry is mandated by law. It is not for Ryanair to decide. They may carry more, but that's a matter of company ops. EU-OPS covers most of their operations - "The operator shall establish a fuel policy for the purpose of flight planning and in-flight replanning to ensure that every flight carries sufficient fuel for the planned operation and reserves to cover deviations from the planned operation. The fuel policy and any change to it require prior approval by the competent authority"" $\endgroup$ – Simon May 31 '17 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ No. It's illegal under federal regulations. If a RyanAir pilot is doing that knowingly on a common carriage flight or otherwise, the FAA should revoke his pilot certificate. If it is an unwritten company policy of RyanAir which is habitually employed in their operation, they should have their air carrier certificate revoked. That is very dangerous. $\endgroup$ – Carlo Felicione May 31 '17 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic. It is indeed about aviation, but is more about hearsay than an actual question. If the site starts to accept these questions, then it may be used as a fact checker for frivolous purpose. You may ask if there are regulations in Europe about fuel reserves, and what happens if an operator doesn't comply with them. $\endgroup$ – mins May 31 '17 at 19:01

You are most likely looking at articles like this one which are not exactly true. There was/is an investigation going on after 3 Ryanair pilots diverted to spain due to weather, an unlikely coincidence at best.

Its a bit dated but you can find the Ryanair fuel policy here (from their own site). Like all airlines they need to carry reserves the FAA regulates this under 121.639 and Im sure there is an equal EASA reg. Now airlines are free to exceed this fuel minimum and I am sure many do as a matter of airline regulations but they are also free to run up against the lower limit of it if they please. If it is beneficial to the bottom line to only carry the minimum legally required by authorities a budget airline may do just that. However there is nothing unsafe about this nor illegal, the plane can still make it to a diversion airport if necessary.

For what its worth (at least here in the US) the FAA is going to realize if an airline is constantly declaring a fuel emergency to land.

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    $\begingroup$ In EASA land, a fuel emergency is classified as a "serious incident" and requires an investigation. So same in Europe. $\endgroup$ – Simon May 31 '17 at 14:17

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