A Frontier Airlines flight en route from Denver to Raleigh, North Carolina, had to turn back to Denver International Airport approximately 40 minutes after takeoff due to a strange smell in the cockpit, as per media reports.
FlightAware data reveals that Frontier Flight 560, an Airbus A321, departed Denver at 6:42 pm MDT, flew westward, and then made a U-turn to touch down at the airport by 7:10 pm before reaching its gate half an hour later.
FOX 31 Denver noted that Denver International Airport representatives confirmed the plane’s destination was Raleigh-Durham International Airport but had to reroute.
Initially, it was mentioned that the return was for medical concerns, but it was later clarified that the plane came back due to a technical issue.
Air traffic control recordings from LiveATC.net reveal the pilot indicating an unusual smell in the cockpit. The pilot clarified to the control tower that the smell wasn’t smoke, but it suggested some form of contamination in the cabin.
Frontier Airlines released a statement regarding the event: “Earlier tonight, shortly after departing from Denver International Airport, Flight 560 en route to Raleigh-Durham with 160 passengers encountered an issue with fumes.
As a safety measure, the crew decided to bring the plane back to Denver and called for medical emergency assistance. Upon arrival, several passengers and crew members were assessed by EMS professionals. As of now, there have been no reports of anyone needing additional medical care.”
In 2017, major U.S. carriers reported 12,530 flight diversions out of the staggering total of over 5.5 million flights. Though this number seems sizable, it represents only a tiny fraction of all flights. Yet, frequent flyers might have experienced such diversions at some point.
Flight diversions can occur for a myriad of reasons. The predominant cause for diversions is weather-related. Weather surveillance is an integral aspect of aircraft dispatchers’ daily routine. Being ready for potential diversions is simply part of their job.