German Flight to Italy Turns Around After Its Intended Airport Turned Out to Be Closed (Video)

“Against the background of the corona crisis, the situation at numerous airports in Europe is very dynamic...”

A German flight to Italy was forced to turn around upon being informed that the airport it was heading to was closed to commercial traffic over the weekend.

Eurowings flight 9844 left Dusseldorf airport on the morning of May 23, bound for the town of Olbia in Sardinia. But when the flight was over the Italian island, air traffic control informed pilots that their intended airport was closed and not accepting commercial flights.

Eurowings plane

“Against the background of the corona crisis, the situation at numerous airports in Europe is very dynamic,” a spokesperson for the airline told CNN. "The large amount of information provided on operating hours or airport closures are often changed at short notice [and there are] daily changes in entry regulations in the various countries."

The flight was offered the option to land at Cagliari, about 120 miles away. But the plane — which only had two Sardinian passengers onboard — turned back to Dusseldorf. It arrived back at its origin airport four hours and 10 minutes after its takeoff.

The airport had indeed been opened at one point, Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra reported via CNN, but at the time of the Eurowings flight, the Olbia airport was only accepting private flights with a capacity of no more than 19 passengers.

The Eurowings spokesperson blamed the four-hour flight to nowhere on "a misunderstanding in the consolidation of the relevant flight information."

The airport at Olbia is expected to reopen to regional flights beginning June 3. On June 15, flights from around Italy will be allowed to land and finally on June 25, barring any new issues, international flights will be permitted to land.

The week before the Eurowings flight, Italy's Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation announced that the airport could reopen but the decision was reversed by the regional government.

Italy is implementing a phased reopening after its coronavirus lockdown. Every few weeks, select businesses are allowed to reopen and residents gain more freedom to travel.

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