Federal officials are investigating why an Allegiant Air passenger jet nearly ran out of fuel before landing at an airport that was temporarily closed to most traffic.
Allegiant said Tuesday it is cooperating with the Federal Aviation Administration’s investigation of the incident.
The Allegiant plane with 144 passengers landed safely last Thursday at Hector International Airport in Fargo, North Dakota, after a flight from Las Vegas.
While the Fargo airport was the flight’s intended destination, it was temporarily closed for practice by the Navy Blue Angels flying team.
I’ve flown Allegiant a couple times. They’re a discount carrier, with insanely low ticket prices, and tack on fees for *everything.*
The only way a carrier like Allegiant can stay afloat is to be ruthless about cutting their costs. One way to do that is to fly with the absolute minimum fuel legally possible. Now, most airlines try to fly with as little fuel as possible, but they also allow the Captain and the dispatcher a little fudge factor, say a couple thousand extra pounds of fuel for every kid the pilot has. But it costs fuel to carry fuel. So one suspects Allegiant doesn’t allow much excess fuel. That means that anything that deviates from the planning assumptions, say a greater than anticipated headwind, or even minor rerouting by ATC, quickly begins eating into the legally mandated divert and holding reserves. And pretty soon, a crew finds itself out of options. There’s no Door #2 or #3. In this case, no one was harmed. But common sense tells you that winnowing your options down to zero is fraught with risk.