American Airlines flight to CLT turns around over ocean

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An American Airlines flight from Rome to CLT has been pushed back to Europe after possible mechanical problems.

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Shortly after flying over the Atlantic Ocean from Europe on Friday morning, an American Airlines plane bound for Charlotte turned around due to possible mechanical problems, the airline confirmed to The Charlotte Observer.

The flight, American Airlines 721, was heading to Charlotte Douglas International Airport from Rome.

The flight was diverted to Madrid, Spain, and landed at 3:17 p.m. CEST (9:17 a.m. EST), according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

The flight landed in Madrid after 5 hours and 24 minutes of travel time, according to FlightAware.

“The aircraft landed safely and without incident, and our maintenance team is currently evaluating it,” American Airlines spokesman Curtis Blessing told the Observer in a statement. “Our team strives to get our customers up and running as quickly as possible.”

Friday’s flight includes 266 passengers and 12 crew members.

American Airlines did not share additional details about the nature of the possible mechanical issue.

Busy summer season at CLT

Late last year, American announced it would resume seasonal flights between Rome and CLT, with daily flights from May 5 to October 28.

The airport is preparing for large crowds and long lines during the busy summer travel season this year.

American Airlines, the airport’s dominant carrier, now operates up to 600 departures per day from CLT during peak hours, according to an airport statement in late May. Over the summer, that number is expected to peak at 655 departures in June and 659 in July.

Charlotte Airport saw a dramatic drop in passenger numbers in early 2020 when the coronavirus hit North Carolina. But officials predicted that passenger travel would fully recover by next year.

And Charlotte Douglas was ranked the fifth busiest airport in the world for arrivals and departures, according to Airports Council International’s preliminary 2021 rankings.

This story was originally published June 10, 2022 10:09 a.m.

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Hannah Smoot covers business in Charlotte, focusing on health care and transportation. She has been covering COVID-19 in North Carolina since March 2020. She previously covered Money and Power at the Rock Hill Herald in South Carolina and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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