UK airport
The incident occurred on Aug. 27, 2023 with a Jet2 flight from Scotland to Spain Daniel LEAL/AFP News

A low-budget UK airline last month was forced to make an emergency landing after it nearly "ran out of fuel".

The incident occurred on Aug. 27 when a Jet2 flight from Scotland made an emergency landing in Spain. Flight LS-189, operating on a Boeing 737 aircraft, flew from Glasgow Airport and issued a "fuel Mayday" before making an emergency priority landing at Palma de Mallorca Airport.

This was around the same time when severe thunderstorms with hurricane-force winds struck Mallorca. The weather caused extensive damage across the island as well as flight chaos, with over 50 flights believed to have been cancelled and 18 flights redirected away from Palma de Mallorca airport.

The severe weather and stormy conditions meant the flight was stranded in the air for quite some time as the pilot was ordered into a holding pattern. The aircraft, which had 187 passengers and six crew members, was forced to remain in the air over the Pyrenees at 35,000 feet. Meaning the flight was eating into its fuel reserves.

As the hold time increased, the pilot became aware that the fuel was reaching threatening low levels. They had no choice but to call in for an emergency landing. The distress call said that "if they remained in flight, they would land with less than 1,159 kilos of fuel".

While the holidaymakers would have expected the routine flights to take two-and-a-half-hours to get them to Palma De Mallorca, they landed there almost three-and-a-half hours after departing from Glasgow. Fortunately, there were no injuries and the aircraft suffered no damage.

Noting the seriousness of the event, Spain's Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission (CIAIAC), a division of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA), has opened a full investigation.

The fuel carried by aircraft is highly regulated, with the fuel for a commercial flight divided into taxi fuel, trip fuel, contingency fuel, alternate fuel, final reserve fuel, additional fuel, and extra fuel.

A preliminary report by the CIAIAC details stated that the Jet2 flight "received priority and, finally, after three hours and twenty-six minutes of flight, landed at eleven twenty" in Palma de Mallorca, "without incident". But the flight landed with "39 kg less fuel than the final reserve fuel".

Meanwhile, the stormy weather last month caused several chaotic incidents in Spain, one of which being a P&O Britannia cruise ship crashing into another vessel off the coast of Palma after its moorings snapped. The crash saw a number of passengers suffering minor injuries.