Manchester Airport
Flights grounded at Manchester Airport after fox spotted on the runwayReuters

Flights all over the world are suspended and rescheduled for various reasons such as bad weather, volcanic ash or other operational issues. But can you imagine flights being grounded because of a fox? Yes, that happened!

Several planes were reportedly grounded at the Manchester Airport on Monday, January 29, after a fox decided to take a stroll on the runway. The fox, in fact, did not even seem to have any issues with the huge Boeing 747 nearby and continued to playfully run around on the tarmac.

However, a plane did manage to take off despite the fox as it had already received clearance and was in full throttle. The pilot of the aircraft noticed the animal just when he was taking off.

The authorities were then alerted of the fox on the runway and they, in turn, halted operations for a while and grounded several flights before they chased the animal away. Flight operations were resumed later. 

The entire saga was caught on camera by MT Aviation, who also uploaded the video on YouTube. "We were filming aircraft as per normal taking off from Runway 23L," the filmer said. "Out of the corner of my eye I noticed an animal on the runway, later to discover it was a fox."

The filmer also explained that this was not just risky for the animal but for the aircraft as well. "All else aside an animal on the runway can cause serious harm to the aircraft if struck whilst taking off. Operations were momentarily stopped and airfield ops with the situation quickly with normal operations back under way shortly," he added.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time that a fox has been spotted on the tarmac. In March 2017, a Singapore Airlines Air Airbus A380-800 travelling from Zurich to Singapore was asked to abort take off as a fox was crossing the runway.

"Stop takeoff, I say again, stop takeoff, a fox is crossing the runway," boomed a voice from the tower, after which the aircraft rejected takeoff and returned to the holding point, reported the Aviation Herald.