• Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

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Plane leaves Washington runway, another lands in New Mexico after disturbance

A passenger plane went off the runway and into a grassy area at Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C., Friday night, hours after a different plane landed in Albuquerque after a disturbance on board.

There were no injuries in either of the incidents.

At Reagan National Airport, Frontier Flight 538 from Denver with 151 passengers and six crew members on board left the end of a runway and into a grassy area, officials said.

Those on board would leave on stairs after the mishap around 10:30 p.m., the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said.

The airline said the A320 Airbus “came to a stop slightly beyond the runway upon landing,” and an investigation into the cause was underway.

June 1, 202101:36

In New Mexico on Friday afternoon, a Delta plane from Los Angeles headed to Nashville was diverted and landed safely in Albuquerque after a passenger attempted to enter the cockpit, officials said.

The passenger was not successful and was restrained by crew and other passengers, according to an airport spokesperson and the airline.

Delta called the man an “unruly passenger.” He was taken off the plane, and the FBI said it is investigating but there is no threat to the public.

Video showed the man yelling “stop the plane” and as he was held down by others and restrained.

A law enforcement source familiar with the matter noted that it was not an attempt to take over the plane. It was not immediately clear what motivated the disturbance.

The Boeing 737-900 had 162 passengers and six crew members on board, Delta said. The airline said it was arranging for another flight to take passengers to Nashville.

The plane landed at Albuquerque International Sunport around 2:20 p.m. local time (4:20 p.m. ET), Sunport spokesperson Stephanie Kitts said.

After seeing the number of passengers plummet last year amid the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, more Americans have been getting on planes as vaccinations have increased and parts of the country have eased public health restrictions.

On Thursday there were around 1.8 million people who traveled by air, compared to only around 391,800 on that same day in 2020, according to numbers from the Transportation Security Administration.

That’s still down around 800,000 from the same date in 2019.

The daily numbers of air travelers stayed largely under 1 million for most of last year, although they did break that number occasionally, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas.