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Ryanair Facing Investigation After Emergency Landings In Spain

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Irish budget airline Ryanair is facing scrutiny from Irish and Spanish aviation authorities after being accused of "courting disaster" by flying with near-empty fuel tanks to save money, The Telegraph reports.

Two Ryanair flights were diverted to Spain this weekend, one over a technical issue and the other due to an engine fault. And, on the same day in July, three Ryanair planes were forced to land in the country after becoming low on fuel.

Officials from the Spanish Ministry of Development met with the Irish Department of Transport and representatives from the Irish Aviation Authority Tuesday to discuss Ryanair's Spanish operations, reports the Irish Independent.

In the paper, the Department of Transport asserted IAA's "rigorous oversight of Ryanair's operations and their satisfaction with Ryanair's safety standards."

According to The Telegraph, Ryanair blames the July emergency landings on bad weather, and stated that the airline complies with EU safety regulations. The Irish pilots' union, on the other hand, accused Ryanair of pressuring flight crews to carry the minimum amount of fuel required by those regulations. The airline denies that's the case.

If it's necessary, Spanish authorities want to ground Ryanair in the country, The Sun reports.

This isn't the first time Spain and Ryanair have had it out. In January 2011 it was a Spanish judge who knocked down the airline's boarding pass fee, saying it's not the passengers' responsibility to issue boarding cards.

Ryanair also got into hot water with the IAA back in March, when it was under investigation for not allowing passengers to sit in exit row seats unless they paid a £10 fee.

This spring, Ryanair introduced some inventive cost-cutting measures to save fuel including printing the in-flight magazine on thinner paper (the magazine also doubles as the in-flight menu), cutting down on the amount of ice taken on board and reducing the weight of beverage carts. The airline also encouraged flight attendants to mind their weight, but all in the name of the annual airline calendar (see below).

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