Smoke smell triggers third emergency Allegiant Air landing in Pinellas in 3 years

Allegiant Air jets file photo. David Becker / AP
AP file photo

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – For the third time in as many years, an Allegiant Air flight made an emergency landing at St. Petersburg Clearwater Airport on Sunday. This time, the reason for that diverted flight was the smell of smoke inside the aircraft.

The flight diversion from the intended destination of Dayton, Ohio happened about eight minutes after takeoff from Punta Gorda Airport. Flight controllers at St. Pete Clearwater Airport scrambled airport fire crews who met the plane on the runway and scanned it with thermal sensors to make sure it wasn’t on fire.

After an all clear, the Allegiant pilots taxied to the gate for a more thorough inspection. The flight continued to Dayton several hours later, but it’s not clear whether Allegiant used the same aircraft.

The FAA tells 8 on Your Side the incident is under investigation. An 8 on Your Side review of aircraft maintenance records did not turn up any major troubles with that particular MD83 aircraft. It was serviced twice at the end of June due to odors from an unknown source.

Last year, another Allegiant Air flight made an emergency landing at St. Pete Clearwater Airport due to an alarming drop in hydraulic fluid pressure. In 2015, Allegiant pilots ordered the emergency evacuation of passengers at St. Pete. Clearwater Airport because of smoke in the cockpit.

Allegiant issued the following statement to 8 On Your Side:

“…short version is that the diversion was due to a smell, there was no visible smoke or fire. Diversion was out of an abundance of caution. 

Mx crews are in process of determining root cause of the smell. 

Another aircraft continued that flight to Dayton. Passengers were issued vouchers toward future travel on Allegiant and also provided meal vouchers for use at the airport.

We know that any disruption to travel plans is frustrating and we thank our passengers for their patience and understanding.”

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