A wandering turtle across Narita airport runway delays flights

A wandering turtle across Narita International Airport runway delayed as many as five flights on September 24. The halting of flights due to weather, technical breakdowns is very common. But the flights out of Narita Airport were delayed because an errant turtle strolled across the runway.

Weighing over 4 pounds and 1 foot long, a turtle was spotted roaming across the runway of Japan‘s second-busiest international airport. It compelled the airport authorities to temporarily halt the operations after it wandered onto the tarmac. A pilot who saw the turtle strolling alerted the traffic controller when he was about to take off. The surprised staff then used the net to catch and remove the reptile after searching the entire four km-tarmac areas.

15 minutes of flight delay

The search operation to catch the creature led to 15 minutes flight delay as it is not easy to find small animals in a huge area. According to Narita International Airport Corporation Officials, the turtle is believed to have come from about 100 meters away retention pond of the airport.

One of the planes whose departure was delayed was All Nippon Airways Airbus A380, all set to take off on a flight. The aircraft featuring sea turtle livery was about to depart for the Southern Japanese Island of Okinawa. The turtle displayed its power by moving slowly along the airport’s tarmac and prompted the pilot to inform the ATC center.


After the staff was informed, they rushed off and removed the turtle, and searched for other objects that closed the runway for 12 minutes. The turtle will soon be relocated to natural habitat once its type has been identified.

All Nippon Airways Airbus A380 fuselage debuted light and dark blue sea turtles livery in July last year on the occasion of ANA’s service to Hawaii, where animals are perceived to be sacred. In Hawaii, many people attribute sea turtles to be the traditional symbol of wisdom and good luck.

Regarding the headlines sparked by turtle, All Nippon Airways has responded positively, stating that the turtle signals a bright future for the airline’s operation.

As per Mainichi, airport workers occasionally remove raccoons, stray cats, dogs from the runway but turtle sightings are pretty rare on the tarmac to cause disruption.

About All Nippon Airways (ANA)

It is a Japanese airline headquartered at Shiodome City Center Minato, Tokyo operating both domestic and international operations, founded on December 27, 1952. In terms of revenue and passenger numbers it handled, it is the largest Japanese airline. It featured an eye-catching livery design to reflect the boundless love of Hawaii for sea turtles last year. The carrier decorated 3 Airbus A380 planes to bring good luck and prosperity to customers traveling to the island in honor of the sea turtle. The airline couldn’t commence regular flights to Hawaii due to a coronavirus outbreak. On the day turtle was spotted at the tarmac, ANA’s sea turtle-themed aircraft was embarking on a special maiden trip to Naha, the capital of Okinawa.

New York’s JFK airport often encounters turtles year after year, so aircraft is not only the regular thing to arrive there. As turtles take over an hour to cross the runway, they can constitute a major hazard in the airport runway.

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