What started out as a joke letter, has unintentionally revealed a serious safety issue at Virgin Australia which caused Virgin to most likely seek legal advice before sending the below response, a response which is painfully honest and which they probably don’t particularly want you to see, but in a time where aviation safety is being repeatedly brought into question, I think incidents like this should not go unreported. This plane was returned to Melbourne as it departed either without being fuelled or have being fuelled with an insufficient quantity of fuel for the flight to reach its destination of Christchurch. This may well be an isolated safety incident, but the fact that such an issue managed to occur in the first place, makes me give Virgin Australia a vote of no confidence with regard to safety culture. Consequently, personally, I have made the decision to never fly on a Virgin Australia operated flight. Although Virgin make significant attempts in this email to play down the seriousness of the situation, given my knowledge of fuel surpluses that aircraft carry, I predict that had they continued to overlook their error for much longer, there would have been complete loss of this aircraft in the Tasman Sea about 90 minutes off the Australian coast.
Read my initial letter to Virgin Australia here (15 February 2015)
Read Virgin Australia’s initial response and my consequent response here (19 February 2015)