EasyJet says sorry for fuel error

EasyJet has apologised after 30 passengers were ordered off a plane which had been loaded with too much fuel to take off.

The no-frills carrier said it was compensating a total of 37 passengers who were unable to fly from Birmingham to Geneva on Boxing Day because of the error.

EasyJet spokesman Andrew McConnell said the airline was investigating how the aircraft was loaded with 10 tonnes more fuel than was needed, meaning it was too heavy to be cleared for take-off.

The mistake forced easyJet to ask for volunteers to leave the flight and offer a 250-euro "denied boarding" payment and overnight accommodation, but only seven people stepped forward.

Mr McConnell confirmed that the last 30 passengers to check in for the flight were then instructed to get off the plane and catch a later plane.

Baggage was left behind in Birmingham when the plane eventually took off and easyJet is also investigating claims from passengers that they were threatened with arrest after declining to leave the flight, a winter service popular with those on skiiing holidays.

Stressing that such refuelling mistakes were very rare, Mr McConnell said: "We'd like to sincerely apologise to the passengers affected by the weight restrictions on the flight from Birmingham, resulting in some passengers and bags being offloaded.

"The cause of the weight restriction was due to a fuelling error, which resulted in the aircraft taking on too much fuel, and therefore being too heavy for take-off when fully loaded.

"An investigation has been launched to understand how this happened."