Two 737s Couldn't Handle Weight of Sumo Wrestlers

Japan Airlines had to add extra flight to bring large men to festival on southern island
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2023 5:19 PM CDT
Sumo Wrestlers Were Too Heavy for 2 Flights
In this file photo from 2019 grand champion Kisenosato, left, is pushed out of the ring by Tochiozan at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo.   (Kyodo News via AP)

Japan Airlines had to take what it says was a "very unusual" step when numerous sumo wrestlers tried to travel to one of the country's southern islands on the same day. The Guardian reports that the airline added an extra flight after determining that two flights carrying wrestlers, one from Tokyo and one from Osaka, would exceed weight restrictions, making it unable to carry enough fuel, if all the men were on board. The wrestlers weighed an average of around 265 pounds, far more than the average passenger weight of around 150 pounds.

The airline said that the two Boeing 737-800s couldn't carry all the wrestlers and that the Amami Oshima Island airport couldn't handle bigger aircraft, the Yomiuri Shimbun reports. An extra flight from Tokyo was added to bring 27 passengers, including some of the travelers from Osaka, to the island's Special National Sports Festival. The festival, which involved around 460 sumo wrestlers, began Friday. The airline also made special arrangements to bring the wrestlers home on Sunday. (More sumo wrestling stories.)

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