White House press plane delayed due to cicada infestation
A swarm of cicadas took over the external hull of the White House press plane on Tuesday night, which led to a delay of the aircraft’s flight by more than six and a half hours.
The chartered plane was at first scheduled to depart at 9 PM but was finally replaced with a new aircraft that had to be flown to Dulles International Airport.
The plane finally departed around 2:15 AM.
The plane, an Airbus 330-300, malfunctioned due to its auxiliary power unit, a small turbine engine that powers the cabin and other onboard equipment was broken after being infested with cicadas before its take-off.
Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant said in a statement to CNBC, “At issue was the presence of periodical cicadas within the APU, rendering it unworkable. Delta teams dispatched a replacement Airbus A330 aircraft and crew to Washington-Dulles International Airport to operate the flight.”
“We apologize to our charter customers for this rarest of entomological delays, but still nothing is more important than safety,” Durrant added.