A Ryanair aircraft was seen being prepared for a flight to the UK by ground crew of Brindisi Airport, Italy by being de-iced using buckets of hot water. An alarming video, filmed last week, shows a man in a hi-vis jacket carrying a bucket over to a stationary Ryanair plane. A group of similarly-attired staff are on the steps up to the plane and swap the full bucket with an empty one. The water can then be seen thrown over the engine below in an attempt to get rid of ice ahead of a flight to Stansted Airport.
Normally, planes should be de-iced by using specialised equipment to spray the aircraft with a heated combination of propylene glycol and water to prevent the ice from reforming.
The video as posted on Facebook by Italian politician Mauro D’Attis. He captioned the footage: “Look how they tried to de-ice the planes at Brindisi. Shame!”
Brindisi airport operators were satisfied with the unusual procedure, however, reported The Sun.
They explained guidelines said: “Buckets of hot water at 60c are allowed when the air temperature is 0c.”
They added: ”The Captain was aware and satisfied. The procedure was to remove a little residual snow. It was a perfectly safe procedure.”
But an aviation safety expert also told The Sun: “It looks a very haphazard way of dealing with a potentially very dangerous problem.”
It’s understood Italy’s Civil Aviation Authority is sending inspectors to Brindisi following the incident.
Express.co.uk has contacted Ryanair for comment on the video, which is rapidly going viral.
De-icing a plane ahead of take-off is crucial because “even a quarter inch of frozen material can alter airflow around the wing – highly important during take-off when speed is slow and margins are thin,” explained pilot Patrick Smith in his book Cockpit Confidential.
According to Smith, there have been instances of tragedies in the past when planes have attempted to take off with iced-over wings.
For instance, in 1994, on Halloween night, “ sixty-eight people died aboard American Eagle flight 4181 – a crash attributed to a design flaw, since rectified, in the ATR-72’s deicing system.”
Ryanair has also hit the headlines this week for charging customers for booking changes they never made.
Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis wrote a letter to Michael O’Leary, the Chief Executive of Ryanair, demanding the budget airline behave like a “nice airline” and pay the wrongly-charged customers back.
Chief Executives of Ryanair and its regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), were presented with a dossier of over 160 Ryanair passengers who were hit by the ‘glitch.’
Angry customers travelling with partners or friends with different surnames said they have been penalised after their companions’ surnames were automatically changed even though the correct details were entered at the time of booking.
If they didn’t spot the error within Ryanair’s 24-hour grace period, they were slapped with a £115 charge to change it in order to travel.