Airline investigating after Roanoke based plane makes three emergency landings in three days

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - Officials with the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport say that for three days in a row, an American Airlines jet had to make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff.

The first time it happened was Saturday morning. Officials say the Charlotte-bound, 50-passenger jet left ROA's runway and quickly had to turn back around after crew members detected the smell of smoke in the cabin.

The jet, they say, was taken out of service and inspected by maintenance teams. Passengers were accommodated on other flights.

But the same thing happened with the same exact aircraft Sunday and Monday, which Roanoke airport leaders say is highly unusual.

Tuesday a representative with Piedmont Airlines, which operates American Airlines in Roanoke, said that the plane was still out of service. They said they planned to fly it to the Salisbury Regional Airport maintenance base Tuesday afternoon to take a closer look at it.

According to airport officials, the FlightStats database shows that for the month of September, American Airlines' reliability in Roanoke was below all other carriers. Reliability is based on number of cancellations (of which it had the most) and on-time arrivals.

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