A Eurowings flight from Düsseldorf, Germany, to Sardinia, Italy, was forced to turn around at the last minute because the destination airport was closed due to coronavirus lockdowns in Italy.
The plane made it all the way to Sardinian airspace on Saturday when they were told that the airport was closed to commercial traffic. The flight was two hours one way.
An aviation blog theorized that the mistake was made because the airport was ordered to reopen earlier this month, but that decision was immediately overruled by the local government.
There were only two people on the flight. The airline has rebooked their flights.
A map showing Eurowings Flight 9844 flying from Düsseldorf, Germany, to Sardinia, Italy, then returning immediately after Sardinian airport was closed.
A flight from Düsseldorf, Germany, to the Italian island of Sardinia was forced to turn around on Saturday after a two-hour flight because the destination airport was still closed due to coronavirus lockdown measures.
Eurowings Flight 9844 made it all the way to Sardinian airspace before it was told by air traffic control that the airport was closed to commercial traffic, CNN reported.
The plane had been carrying just two passengers at the time, CNN added.
The flight then made the two-hour return trip to Germany, and the airline has rebooked all two passengers onto other flights.
Both Italy and Germany have started lifting their strict coronavirus lockdowns.
Aviation blog One Mile at a Time theorized that the mistake was made because Sardinia's Olbia Airport was ordered to reopen on May 17, but then the local government immediately overruled the decision. The airport is to remain closed to commercial flights until June 2 at the earliest.
A Eurowings spokesperson told CNN in a statement that "the situation at numerous airports in Europe is very dynamic" due to the coronavirus outbreak.
"The large amount of information provided on operating hours or airport closures are often changed at short notice," the spokesperson said, adding that there are "daily changes in entry regulations in the various countries."
Air travel has fallen dramatically during the pandemic, and airlines are now scrambling to implement new policies to stop viral transmissions and to make crew and passengers feel safe. Many tourist-reliant regions are now starting to reopen as more countries lift their lockdown measures.
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