Planes Just Plain Polluting?
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Planes Just Plain Polluting?

179320583_3d2ed23bd2.gifEarlier this week, Torontoist received word of an alarming recent event at Pearson airport. It centers around an Austrian Airlines flight to Vienna, departing from Toronto on Monday night. During takeoff, the cockpit reported a problem concerning the plane’s fuel filter. Alerting Pearson traffic control of the issue, the plane circled over Lake Ontario, dumped its fuel, and landed.
According to Livia Dandrea-Boehm, spokesperson for Austrian Airlines, the dumping of the fuel was due to a weight issue with the plane. “The fuel dumping was necessary, as the landing weight of the aircraft would have been too high,” she said, in an e-mail to Torontoist.
After a brief inspection and repair, the plane was once again cleared for takeoff. Not exactly eager to put their lives in danger, a number of passengers refused to board. When the plane attempted its second flight of the night, it again experienced problems with the fuel filter and was forced to land. No fuel was dumped this time around, presumably due to the plane’s light weight. Fewer passengers means a lighter plane, after all. Passengers were re-booked.
We’re glad everyone was safe and the plane was able to land, but the incident brings to mind a number of questions. How often does this sort of thing happen? How often are planes dumping fuel into Lake Ontario? What sort of cleanup does the airport undertake? What sort of environmental impact does this have?
We contacted the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, the body responsible for managing Pearson, but were met with limited response. The public relations department would only confirm the incident had occurred, refusing to answer any questions regarding the fuel dump, the airport’s procedures regarding such an incident, or whether or not fines were issued. Questions to the airline went similarly unanswered.
No wonder Toronto beaches are never safe for swimming!
Photo by Marc Lostracco.