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As per the title, can airlines recover costs if they dump fuel due to a medical emergency on board shortly after takeoff?

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    $\begingroup$ Probably they don't. $\endgroup$ – user3528438 Dec 9 '19 at 4:33
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    $\begingroup$ Why do you believe that they would even try? Fuel dumping is pretty rare... $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Dec 9 '19 at 4:37
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't that the role of insurance? In case of emergency, I would expect an insurance to compensate for any extra costs. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Dec 9 '19 at 7:31
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    $\begingroup$ @ManuH Compensate any extra costs? That is certainly not the business model of insurers. $\endgroup$ – bogl Dec 9 '19 at 8:28
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    $\begingroup$ @bogl it depends how much they charge, but in case of an emergency, there role is also to remove the financial consequences from the decision process (e.g. better get the aircraft down to take care of a medical emergency than continuing flying it because it is expected at arrival and if it not there company would loose money). I also expect contract between insurers and airliner's to be highly complicated and required entire teams to optimize them (both for the airline and the insurer) $\endgroup$ – Manu H Dec 9 '19 at 9:12
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You are overestimating (by asking) the cost of fuel in such a worst-case scenario diversion that requires fuel dumping.

With this week's jet fuel price, 50 tonnes (approx. half of what is loaded on a 787 bound for a long-haul) would set you back \$31,000.[a] But,

A single flight diversion can cost Emirates anything from US\$50,000 to over US\$600,000, depending on the nature of the diversion which includes fuel, flight catering, landing and ground handling fees, air navigation cost, passenger rebooking costs and onward connection, as well as other associated costs to care for crew and passengers.

Since 50 tonnes can be considered an upper limit, and Emirates' upper limit is \$600,000, fuel is just 5% of the cost. Further,

Adel Al Redha, Emirates' Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, said: "We can never hope to recover the costs of a flight diversion, but the wellbeing of our customers is always our number one priority (...) [emphasis added]

Source: Emirates reveals the real cost of medical diversions for an airline, www.airlineratings.com, 2017

[a]: Also, for reference: An A380 returned to SFO not long into a flight due to a medical emergency, and dumped "40 tons" on the way back (avherald.com).


Related: How much compensation does an unruly passenger have to pay to an airline if the flight has to be diverted to remove them?

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