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Fuel Stops – Which Applies, Flight Time or Holding?

Date: January 5, 2023

The San Diego (SAN) airport is experiencing what might be characterized as a small-scale fuel crisis. On December 26, a pipeline delivering fuel to the airport was found to have a leak which caused the delivery system to be shut down for safety purposes.

While the system is being repaired and until it is returned to service, a temporary solution has been implemented and fuel is being delivered to the airport via fuel trucks. However, there are insufficient resources to bring in as much fuel as needed through this process, as each fuel truck can only supply fuel for two flights departing the station to the east coast. As a result, many flights from SAN are being fueled with a supply of fuel sufficient to allow the aircraft to be flown to nearby airports, such as LAS, LAX or PHX, where additional fuel is added to allow the flight to continue to its destination.

The airport signaled the fuel system is expected to return to operation, at the earliest, by January 5.  As of today, no updated timeline has been provided.

Flight Attendants who have worked some these flights that have made extra stops for fuel are seeking clarification as to how the flight time provisions of Section 2.P. are to be applied in this situation. In explaining how these provisions work, we refer to the settlement of MEC 8-09 which addresses flight time and is tied to where the aircraft parks for refueling. For example:

A Flight from SAN-EWR stops in LAS to add fuel.

  1.  If the aircraft parks at the gate, Flight Attendants will be compensated consistent with the contract requirements for Holding Time.  This is the case, regardless of whether or not egress is provided, because the aircraft has come to rest at a normal unloading point.
  2. If the flight is sent to a location other than a normal unloading point, (i.e., penalty box, auxiliary taxi way parking, etc.) continuous flight time will apply during the refueling stop because the aircraft has not come to rest at a normal unloading point.

It is important to understand that where the aircraft comes to rest, that is, parks, is operative in determining whether or not flight time continues to accrue. 

In all situations, review your pairing upon completion and contact crew pay with any adjustment request in the event it is required.  Keep in mind, station personnel at the extra stop will be consulted to confirm for scheduling the point at which the aircraft came to rest for refueling.

For more information or clarification contact your Local Council.

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