Running On Empty: G4 Pilot Begs For Landing Permission

Open Jaw

That was too close for comfort. U.S. officials are investigating why an Allegiant Air pax jet nearly ran out of fuel before landing at an airport that was temporarily closed to most traffic.

The G4 aircraft with 144 pax onboard landed safely last week at Hector International Airport in Fargo, North Dakota, after a flight from LAS.

While FAR was the flight's intended destination, it was temporarily closed for practice by the Navy Blue Angels flying team – and airport officials say the airline should have known that.

In a tense exchange with air traffic controllers, the G4 pilot said he didn't have enough fuel to reach another airport.

When the controller said there would be a window to land in Fargo in 20 minutes, the pilot responded, "I don't have 20 minutes."

The controller suggested landing at Grand Forks, about 100 km away. But the pilot was insistent: “Yeah, listen. We’re at bingo fuel here in about 3 or 4 minutes and I gotta come in and land.”

The controller then made a landing possible.

"At this time, we are coordinating with the FAA and the airport to investigate all channels of communication regarding the flight and the circumstances leading to the declaration of emergency," the Las Vegas-based airline said.

In a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press, Allegiant did not say whether it knew about the temporary closure at the Fargo airport. The airline says it is cooperating with the Federal Aviation Administration's investigation of the incident.

A subsidiary of Allegiant Travel Co., G4 focuses on flying from smaller airports to vacation destinations such as LAS and MCO.

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