Airline Flies to Italy, Forgets to See if Airport Is Open

After 'sightseeing tour,' Eurowings took 2 passengers back to Germany
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2020 9:11 AM CDT
Plane Flies Across Europe to Find Airport Closed
Seasonal workers from Romania arrive with a special Eurowings flight due to the coronavirus outbreak at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany, on April 17, 2020.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

A plane carried passengers from Germany to Italy before turning around midair because its intended airport is closed until next month. A spokesperson for German airline Eurowings confirmed the Saturday mix-up, which played out over four hours, per CNN. Flight EW9844 set off from Düsseldorf, intending to make the 730-mile trip to Sardinia's Olbia Airport. It wasn't until the plane began its approach that air traffic control informed pilots that the airport was closed to commercial traffic, per AFP. Pilots were given the option to land 120 miles away in Cagliari, on the southern tip of Sardinia, but instead returned to Düsseldorf.

Olbia Airport had been reopened May 17, but the decision was reversed that same day, per CNN. All Italian airports, with the exception of some in Rome and Florence, are to remain closed until at least June 3, reports AFP. A Eurowings spokesperson acknowledged "a misunderstanding," noting the situation at some European airports is "very dynamic," with information on operating hours and closures "often changed at short notice." Fortunately there were only two passengers on board. After experiencing "this little sightseeing tour of western Europe," they were rebooked on another flight, per CNN. (Read more airlines stories.)

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