For the third time in the last month, an Allegiant Air flight has been forced to make an emergency landing at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.
Allegiant Flight 977 departed Ashville, N.C., on Friday, bound for Punta Gorda, but was forced to divert to St. Pete-Clearwater because of bad weather, the airline said.
Just a few minutes before landing, however, pilots declared an emergency because an “indicator light” went on that pointed to a possible “maintenance issue” on the aircraft, Allegiant said Saturday.
The plane landed safety 7:53 p.m.
The airline said the indicator light noted the alignment of the aircraft’s spoilers, which lift up from the wings to reduce lift during the plane’s descent. Allegiant initially said the problem was caused by bad weather, but a spokesperson said the airline is unsure if a sensor malfunctioned or if there was an actual problem with the spoilers.
“Our mechanics are currently investigating the issue,” the airline said.
Fire trucks met the plane upon landing, though airport officials said that is routine for any emergency landing.
Allegiant officials said passengers were put on a replacement aircraft and departed St. Pete-Clearwater, landing in Punta Gorda at 10:42 p.m., more than four hours later than scheduled. There were 146 passengers and six crew members on the plane, the airline said.