The Play flight was on its way back to Iceland from Malaga, Spain, when the crew of the Airbus A320 were warned of a serious fuel problem. There were 105 passengers on board.
Play’s head of communications, Nadine Guðrún Yaghi, says: “In essence it’s just a message to say that not everything is normal. It relates to the reserve fuel that our procedures anticipate will be on board the plane when it lands. Then it came to light there was enough fuel, so as it stands now, we are pretty certain it [the warning] was an error and that everything was alright, but we are of course going over everything right now and investigating the matter.”
Passengers stayed calm
Problems on planes have three alert stages in three colours. The alert called last night is specifically for situations that threaten the safety of an aircraft and those who are on board, and the red colour associated with it is reserved for aircrafts with 56 or more souls on board, which calls for coordination among emergency services. According to airports operator Isavia, around a thousand people were called out over last night’s incident.
“When this error message came up, the usual response protocol was made and the pilots announced the danger alert, but when the plane was on approach it came to light that all systems were working normally,” Nadine says.
Did the crew ever fear for their passengers’ safety?
“No, the crew were really not fearful for passenger safety at any point, because they knew they had enough fuel. But the working rules are such that when an alert like this comes up, it is reported and then the danger alert is really just a contingency,” Nadine adds.
She says the passengers were told what was going on, but that they remained calm.
The plane landed normally just before 02.00 and the emergency alert was cancelled.
The transportation accidents investigations committee is investigating the incident and examining the aeroplane. As a result, Play has cancelled a flight to and from Paris today.