"The Fargo airport management had notified airlines of the planned airspace closure, practice and air show as far back as December, and NOTAMs (Notices to Airmen) were issued 72 hours in advance," the FAA said. "It is a requirement for pilots to review NOTAMs before flight."
FAA said for this reason, all arriving flights had scheduled arrival times. Allegiant 426 missed its scheduled time, as it was an hour late departing from Las Vegas.
"Knowing the airspace was being used by the Blue Angels, the Fargo tower was waiting for the flight to come in, expecting it to divert to Grand Forks," the FAA said. "The pilots of Allegiant 426 would have been talking to the FAA's Minneapolis Center before entering Fargo's airspace, and would have been well aware of the Blue Angels practice."
FAA said that the Fargo tower talked to Allegiant's operations and was assured that the flight did have an extra 45 minutes of fuel on board, as required by FAA regulation. This extra 45 minutes is required on all flights to enable diversions, if necessary.
Allegiant's operation center told the FAA the flight had an extra 45 minutes of fuel on board, but the pilot said otherwise, and requested landing at Fargo. It is unclear how many people were on board the flight.
The Blue Angels were moved to a holding area, and the flight landed without incident.
Allegiant has had a series of mechanical issues this summer, including smoke in the cockpit of a flight. And another where passengers evacuated to the wing.
A few weeks ago, CBS News reported that pilots of Allegiant were accusing the airline of cutting safety along with costs.
In a letter to the board of Allegiant Airlines, the union representing its pilotscomplained about what it says is the company's bare minimum approach to maintenance and safety.
The letter cited 38 potentially dangerous incidents between January and March of 2015 including engine failures, pressurization problems, smoke in the cockpit and radar issues.