TAP A319 at Porto and Santiago Compostela on Oct 10th 2016, landed below required minimum fuel

Last Update: March 6, 2018 / 15:56:16 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 10, 2016

Classification
Incident

Flight number
TP-1710

Destination
Porto, Portugal

Aircraft Registration
CS-TTD

Aircraft Type
Airbus A319

ICAO Type Designator
A319

A TAP Portugal Airbus A319-100, registration CS-TTD performing flight TP-1710 from Funchal to Porto (Portugal) with 75 passengers and 6 crew, was on approach to Porto when the airport needed to introduce low visibility procedures due to weather causing delays to arriving flights. The aircraft was sent into a hold at FL090 for about 25 minutes, then commenced the approach to Porto's runway 17 but needed to go around from low height (about 200 feet) because required visual references did not become visible. The aircraft climbed to FL120, the crew considered to divert to Vigo,SP (Spain), their closest alternate, but upon being told that Vigo had exceeded available parking capacity and could not receive aircraft anymore diverted to Santiago de Compostela,SP (Spain) declaring Mayday because of being low on fuel on approach to Santiago. The aircraft landed safely on Santiago's runway 35 about 97 minutes after entering the hold at FL090 at Porto.

Spain's CIAIAC reported that the aircraft landed with 962kg of fuel remaining, while 989kg had been their required minimum fuel reserve. The CIAIAC opened an investigation into the occurrence.

On Mar 6th 2018 the CIAIAC released their final report concluding the probable causes of the incident were:

The incident was caused by the improper management of the capacity at the alternate airports by the stations involved during adverse weather conditions, and by the failure of the crew to issue a MINIMUM FUEL declaration, as specified in the operator’s Operations Manual, which would have allowed the Vigo Airport to adopt temporary extraordinary measures to receive the incident aircraft.

Contributing to the incident was the lack of anticipation at the Vigo Airport Operations Coordination Center to report the saturated condition on the apron, which prevented Air Traffic Control from promptly informing the crew involved.

The CIAIAC reported that Vigo was the primary alternate airport with Santiago de Compostela being the second alternate. Prior to commencing the approach to Porto's runway 17, 2,265 kg of fuel remaining, the crew advised ATC that they would need to divert to Vigo in the case of a go around. When the crew initiated the go around after not being able to establish visual references with the runway and climbing out in contact with Porto Approach the crew was informed that Vigo had reached their parking capacity and the aircraft would need to divert to Santiago de Compostela. About 8 minutes after the go around the crew received a "FUEL L WING TK LO LVL" alert, another 6 minutes later the crew received a "FUEL L+R WING TK LO LVL" alert. When in contact with Santiago Approach about 15 minutes after the go around the crew declared fuel emergency as their fuel management indicated they would land below the required minimum fuel reserve of 989kg of fuel. The aircraft landed on runway 35 at Santiago with 959 kg of fuel remaining and taxied to the apron.

The CIAIAC analysed:

The aircraft was flying from the Madeira Airport (LPMA) to the Porto Airport (LPPR). The flight plan listed the Vigo Airport (LEVX) as the first alternate and the Santiago Airport (LEST) as the second.

The weather situation, with reduced visibility and a low cloud ceiling at the Porto Airport, resulted in low-visibility procedures to be in effect from 00:57 h until 10:15 h on the day of the incident.

The crew added extra fuel in addition to that requested in the OFP to allow circling for 30 minutes, in accordance with the instructions contained in the airline’s Operations Manual.

The crew flew a flight profile that reflected the OFP and did the recurring fuel checks as demanded by regulations and by their company’s procedures.

They held over point RETMO for about 27 minutes as they waited for the weather to improve, before eventually deciding to commence the approach, with sufficient fuel to carry out the approach maneuver and proceed to the first alternate airport.

The crew stated that while holding, they informed ATC twice and then the Porto control tower of their intention to proceed to their alternate, Vigo. There is a record of a call made to approach control at 08:02:21 h to report their intentions in the event of a go-around, as well as of a call made to the control tower, at 08:07:53 h, in their first contact with that station to reiterate said intentions. On neither occasion were the crew told that the Vigo Airport was not available.

During the time when they were in a holding pattern, flew the approach and then the missed approach procedure, the RVR reported for the first third of the runway was below the minimums authorized for a CAT II approach, which is 300 m.

In keeping with the company’s procedures, which reflect the contents of the CAT.OP.MPA.305 regulation, they decided to start the approach independently of the reported RVR. The same regulation requires that if the reported RVR/VIS value is below the minimums applicable to the approach, it shall not be continued below 1000 ft above aerodrome level. According to data recorded in the QAR, the crew continued to the approach minimums of 100 ft despite the reported RVR remaining below the minimum required.

At 08:11:03 h, moment when the crew received the final weather report for the airport from the tower controller, the aircraft’s recorded altitude was 1326 ft. The crew should therefore have aborted the maneuver at that point or upon reaching 1000 ft AAL.

By the time the missed approach was executed, at 08:11:04 h, the crew’s diversion possibilities were limited to the Vigo Airport, their first alternate, without having to use their final reserve fuel. Therefore, the conditions described in the operator’s Operations Manual for declaring “MINIMUM FUEL” were satisfied. This would have informed ATC that they were committed to land at a specific airport and that any change to the existing clearance to that aerodrome, or other traffic delays, could result in landing with less fuel than planned; that is, that the situation could transition to one of MAYDAY FUEL.

At 08:18 h, the TACC asked the Vigo tower if it could accept one A319-type aircraft in 10 minutes, requesting a quick reply so it could divert the aircraft to the Santiago Airport, their second alternate, in the event that the answer was negative.

The tower asked the CEOPS, which confirmed the airport’s inability to accommodate any more aircraft, which the tower relayed to the TACC.

The MAYDAY FUEL declaration was made at 08:26:34 h, and was the first communication that alerted ATC about the aircraft’s fuel problems, as the aircraft was en route to the Santiago Airport.

According to AENA’s report on the management of the apron by the Airport Operations Coordination Center (CEOPS) at the Vigo Airport, as per the ““Procedure for Coordinating and Managing Apron Saturation at the Vigo Airport”, had the tower and the CEOPS been aware of the fuel problems of the incident aircraft, the Vigo Airport would have cleared said aircraft to land and instructed it to park on the taxiway on the apron until a stand became available.

Therefore, the proper use of fuel management communications described in the operator’s Operations Manual, which comply with the ICAO and EASA recommendations, could have avoided the emergency situation that is the focus of this report.

With respect to alternate aerodrome management the CIAIAC analysed that in these weather conditions:

the proper management of alternates and smooth communications between crews and controllers is crucial to allowing the former to manage their fuel consumption and make operational decisions.

Therefore, ATC must make an effort to anticipate relevant information in this regard that is otherwise unavailable to crews, such as the availability of alternate airports, so that crews can be given the chance to take suitable measures to ensure the safety of their operation.

At 07:54 h, the Santiago TACC made contact with the Vigo tower to ask about the possibility of accepting a Vueling A320 that had diverted from Porto. This was the last aircraft accepted. The CEOPS could have reported the temporary saturation of the platform at that point, together with its foreseen. With this information the crew could have decided to proceed directly to the Santiago Airport, which the amount of fuel remaining they had at the time would have allowed them to do.

The report on the saturation of the apron also indicated that stand 7A, which was occupied by a code-F aircraft, entailed the use of stands 7, 8 and 9. The information in the “Aircraft parking and docking map” contained in the AIP Spain (Appendix 2) states that parking stand 7, whose maximum capacity is a B738-type aircraft (and could therefore accommodate an A319, like the incident aircraft), is available as long as an aircraft was already parked in stand 7A, which was the case. Therefore, an additional aircraft of the type involved in this incident could have been docked.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 10, 2016

Classification
Incident

Flight number
TP-1710

Destination
Porto, Portugal

Aircraft Registration
CS-TTD

Aircraft Type
Airbus A319

ICAO Type Designator
A319

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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