Photo/Illutration Airplanes of Japan Airlines Co. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

A Japan Airlines Co.’s plane was forced to return to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in the early hours of Feb. 20 after being turned away from Fukuoka Airport because it arrived after the final 10 p.m. landing time.   

The plane was forced to make a stop at Kansai Airport to be refueled en route back to Haneda.

According to JAL, there were 335 passengers aboard the plane. They stayed in a hotel arranged by JAL after returning to Haneda.

The passengers eventually could go to Fukuoka on a one-off flight that the company arranged, departing Haneda at 10:20 a.m. on Feb. 20.

According to the company, JAL 331 was scheduled to leave Haneda at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 and land in Fukuoka Airport at 8:30 p.m. that day.

However, the departure was delayed until around 8 p.m. The company said that it is investigating why the takeoff was delayed.

The plane arrived at Fukuoka Airport but because it couldn’t touch down before 10 p.m., it had to return to its departure point. 

It stopped at Kansai Airport on the way back to be refueled around 11 p.m.

After undergoing maintenance work, the plane left Kansai Airport at around 1:45 a.m. on Feb. 20 and arrived at Haneda at 2:50 a.m.

According to officials of Fukuoka International Airport Co., the operator of Fukuoka Airport, planes are prohibited from landing at the airport after 10 p.m., in principle, out of noise concerns for area residents.

The officials said that planes might be allowed to land after 10 p.m. when the delay was unavoidable, including in the event of bad weather or congestion on the airport runways.

However, the officials said that they didn’t regard the JAL 331 flight delay as “unavoidable.”