Sunday, June 15, 2014

Newcastle air passenger Tony Ormston claims Thomas Cook Airlines kept details of a recalled flight secret: Fire engines met Newcastle plane after it was diverted to Manchester

An airline passenger has accused flight operators of keeping secret the reason why a flight was recalled when it was almost at its destination.

Tony Ormston was on the holiday flight from Newcastle to Tenerife when it turned back after two and a half hours with unspecified technical problems.

Fire engines met the plane when it was diverted to Manchester but Tony said he struggled to find out what happened and why it was decided to recall the plane back to the UK.

Thomas Cook has refused to pay compensation despite Tony and his family eventually arriving a day late for their holiday.

Tony, of Newcastle, said: “Thomas Cook are refusing to pay me compensation quoting extraordinary circumstances.

“I have been in touch with them on numerous occasions but they will not divulge the nature of the circumstances nor pay me suitable compensation.

“Approximately two and a half hours into the flight we were informed that we had to return to Manchester due to a technical problem with the right engine.

“I believe that rather than land at a nearby airport somewhere in mainland Spain and pick up an onward flight it was more cost effective for Thomas Cook to return to Manchester because the company have a maintenance facility hub there and expert technicians on hand.

“This option to return to Manchester was chosen by Thomas Cook in favor of other options that may have allowed us to get to our original destination that night.

“The plane touched down in Manchester with a full set of emergency vehicles in attendance which continued to follow the plane to the gate.

“As a nervous flyer, who is prescribed strong medication by my doctor, this was not a pleasant experience and added to my worry that we would be loaded back on to the original faulty airplane.”

Tony said he had been in touch with the Civil Aviation Authority and Thomas Cook trying to find answers.

After putting pressure on the airline he has now learned there was high engine vibration on the No 2 engine and an examination revealed excessive movement of two fan blades.

The airline has apologized for the delay in providing the information but will still not pay up.

A spokeswoman said: “Thomas Cook Airlines would like to apologize to passengers for the delay they experienced when traveling from Newcastle to Tenerife with us on flight TCX6024 on 23rd August 2013.

“The aircraft had no prior history of the defect that arose, and as such was totally unforeseeable - such cases are genuinely extraordinary and we believe that the regulatory authorities as well as the courts are likely to share this view.

“We appreciate how frustrating flight delays can be, so we’d like to sincerely apologize to Mr Ormston and his family for the delay in getting them to Tenerife.

“It is important to note that technical problems such as this are neither foreseeable nor predictable

“All of our aircraft are subjected to inspection and maintenance on every arrival and departure to ensure that they are in excellent operating condition. In addition to this, our aircraft regularly enter periods of intense inspection and planned maintenance.”

Thomas Cook said the CAA agreed with their assessment that what happened was an unforeseen circumstance that could not have been avoided. A typical flight between Newcastle and Tenerife takes four hours and 40 minutes.


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