For Japan Airlines, the weight of passengers always remains an imponderable factor to take into account in terms of flight safety. The proof: it quickly added an additional flight to its regular schedule on October 12, 2023 to accommodate a large group of sumo wrestlers.
The sumo wrestlers had to go to the airport by Amami (ASJ) to watch a sumo competition at the island’s Special National Sports Festival. Even though everything was fine in terms of passenger numbers, when the airline calculated the number of passengers in kilograms, some quick thinking was required to solve a problem of size, well overweight. Each sumo wrestler weighs an average of 120 kilograms, almost double that of an ordinary Japanese passenger. Both flights used a Boeing 737-800, each with a capacity of 165 passengers. JAL realized that the two flights would not be able to transport the quantity of fuel required due to weight restrictions.
Amami Airport has a short runway, so using a larger plane was not an option. Therefore, JAL had to add a additional flight departing from Haneda to distribute the weight evenly and safely between two flights.
A total of 27 passengers boarded the additional flight. JAL told Japan News that it was ” rare “ that the airline is adding an additional flight due to weight restrictions. Around 460 sumo wrestlers traveled to Amami Island to watch the sports competition which began on October 14, 2023.