TAMPA (FOX 13) - The Federal Aviation Administration has formally reprimanded Allegiant Air after a pilot running dangerously low on fuel was forced to make an emergency landing at a closed airport in Fargo, N.D. this summer.
FAA officials have concluded their investigation into the July 23 incident by issuing a letter of correction, which warns Allegiant of the potentially hazardous behavior. The written warning is one step below legal action.
According to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor, the letter says Allegiant should have known the Fargo airport was closed when it attempted to land there as practice for an upcoming air show was ongoing. The FAA says the airport gave advance notice about the closure, and the pilot as well as Allegiant dispatchers should have been aware. By the time the pilot realized the airport was closed, the FAA says he was so dangerously low on fuel he had to declare an emergency in order to land.
The plane had 144 passengers on board. It landed safely.
The FAA says Allegiant has implemented training and procedural changes to prevent the circumstanced of the July incident from happening again.
In a statement to FOX 13 the airline acknowledged receiving the letter of correction and emphasized changes made in the dispatch department.
Allegiant remains under investigation by the FAA for another, likely more severe incident. In August a plane taking off from Las Vegas had to abort takeoff when a mechanical malfunction caused the nose to prematurely rise from the runway.
The airline made several emergency landings this summer at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. Those incidents, according to the FAA, did not end in any enforcement action.