March 2, 2024

Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-300 lands at Athens International Airport AIA, LGAV / ATH Eleftherios Venizelos, with registration N806NW, a former Northwest Airlines aircraft.

Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images

A swarm of cicadas landed a White House charter jet late Tuesday, delaying dozens of reporters trying to travel to Europe ahead of President Joe Biden’s first overseas trip.

The Delta Air Lines chartered Airbus 330-300 was scheduled to take off from Washington Dulles International Airport around 9 p.m. before the Horde arrived.

Delta said the flight was delayed because the APU, which powers the cabin and other onboard systems, failed.

“It was about the presence of periodic cicadas within the APU that made them unusable,” Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant said in a statement. “Delta teams dispatched a replacement Airbus A330 and crew to Washington-Dulles International Airport to conduct the flight.”

This engine must be fully functional for overseas flight.

The new Delta charter left Dulles around 3:30 p.m. ET for Cornwall Newquay Airport in the UK, Delta said.

“We apologize to our charter customers for this rarest entomological delay, but nothing is more important than safety,” said Durrant.

Magicicada Periodic Cicadas, members of Brood X, cluster on a plant at Fairland Recreational Park June 01, 2021 in Burtonsville, Maryland.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images