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Ryanair's creative boarding procedures still under debate
06 June 2011 @ 12:40

FOLLOWING A complaint from a reader recently boarded onto a Ryanair flight at Alicante El Altet directly from the tarmac instead of via an airbridge, as directed by the court in Elche, RTN contacted Ryanair for comment on the safety of passengers boarded in this manner, also asking for confirmation on whether passengers were properly covered by insurance when being boarded in a manner not yet approved by airport authority AENA. 

When Ryanair declined to comment RTN approached AENA directly for confirmation of passenger status when boarding from the ground at El Altet. 

AENA confirmed with RTN that on Friday 27th May a feasibility study was carried out by the airport to establish whether passengers could be safely boarded in this way without using airbridges, presumably to placate Ryanair in the face of its threats to withdraw significant services if the airbridge issue was not resolved in its favour.

The findings of AENA’s report amount to the fact that out of the 16 parking areas in question, only two could be utilised for boarding passengers due to safety issues compromised by the movement of jet aircraft and airport service traffic.  However, the report also revealed that the two areas in question had not yet been satisfactorily assessed in terms of safety: “If tests find that it is feasible to conduct the embarkation / disembarkation walk in these positions, Alicante Airport will develop an operating procedure to determine on what conditions may be offered to all airlines operating at the airport,” said Laura Baldó Benac of AENA’s press office.

RTN must therefore conclude that AENA as yet cannot guarantee the safety of passengers boarded from the ground without using the airbridges at El Altet.

Ryanair continues to bus its passengers to aircraft parked outside of a red demarcation line purported by ground staff to represent a magical ‘No Man’s Land’, for those airlines that decline to pay AENA’s airbridge charges.

Despite RTN’s persistent enquiries neither AENA nor Ryanair have commented on the matter of passenger insurance at the time of going to press.

Many passengers preferring to board via the airbridges are more than prepared to pay a little extra per ticket to cover the extra cost and a petition is in the pipeline to campaign for a safer and more comfortable boarding procedure than being bussed onto the tarmac in all weathers.

Source: Round Town News 

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Crackerjacks said:
06 June 2011 @ 10:57

I have for years doubted the safety of having passengers queue on stairways inside the building, health and safety nightmare. But I suppose it's better than standing outside in lashing icy rain that has been known to happen.

foxbat said:
06 June 2011 @ 16:00

Whilst I am a staunch supporter of the brigade that are anti-Ryanair, I have to ask the question 'what the hell is wrong with boarding 'from the tarmac'? It is a daily procedure carried out hundreds of times a day, all over the world. Bussing pax to aircraft is not unique to Ryanair, neither is the practice of passengers walking across the tarmac to or from the terminal.

Airbridges can cause more problems than they alleviate; if an airline is working on 25 minute turn round times the delays can be considerable especially if a push-back tractor cannot be made available immediately upon demand. It is also not uncommon for the electro-hydraulic-pneumatic systems used in airbridges to fail.
When this happens, passengers waiting to disembark will be asked to do so through the rear door of the aircraft, which could already be in use by the ground servicing team re-victualing the aircraft.
For a fast turn-round, something that Ryan, Easy, Vueling and all the other loco airlines demand, embarking / disembarking is quicker, easier and far more convenient than an airbridge.

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