An airport spokesperson said that Allegiant Flight 844 took off from the airport at 7:27 a.m. Thursday morning headed to Stewart-Newburg Airport in New York. At 7:58 a.m., Allegiant says the flight crew experienced a mechanical issue, making the decision to return to St. Petersburg-Clearwater, landing safely just before 9 a.m.
Six fire trucks were on standby at the airport awaiting the arrival of the flight.
According to Allegiant, the flight had 165 passengers and 6 crew on board.
A statement from Allegiant reads, in part: “The safety of our passengers and crew is our highest priority, and our primary focus is accommodating any immediate needs they may have. Our mechanics will do a thorough investigation of the aircraft to diagnosis and repair the issue.”
Allegiant says they are working to get passengers to their destination as soon as possible, and will update affected passengers with more information regarding new departure times.
The airplane tracking website Flightaware shows the flight path of the plane. Flightaware tracking shows the plane returning back to the Tampa Bay area, and then circling repeatedly out over the Gulf of Mexico.
This is the second Allegiant Airlines plane to make an emergency landing at the St. Pete- Clearwater airport in the last two days. On Wednesday, Allegiant flight 871 made an emergency landing at 12:19 p.m. after declaring an emergency due to a mechanical issue. An Allegiant spokesperson said that the plane landed safely and was towed to the gate where passengers disembarked. Allegiant mechanics are conducting a full inspection of the plane, according to the spokesperson.