The Air New Zealand plane was flying to Chicago, but halfway through the flight, due to a technical problem, the pilots decided to return to the capital of New Zealand, Auckland. As a result, the flight lasted 11 hours.
Flight NZ26 took off from Auckland at around 8.40pm on Wednesday and had been on the road for about four hours when it had to unexpectedly return to Auckland, according to overseas media reports.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner landed in Auckland at 7.30am local time today. In total, the flight took 11 hours, but never reached its destination – Chicago. An Air New Zealand spokesman said the plane was forced to turn back due to a technical problem.
“As a result, passengers had to deplane upon arrival in Auckland as the aircraft had to undergo additional security checks upon landing,” a company spokesman said.
A similar incident occurred a few months earlier
“Currently, all passengers have been transferred to the next available flight. We thank passengers for their patience. We are currently working to restore the aircraft to service as soon as possible,” he added.
A similar incident occurred with the airline in June. An Air New Zealand plane was forced to return to Auckland on the same route due to fuel problems.
It was later discovered that the problem was a fuel leak in the left engine, resulting in the aircraft being forced to land with only one engine. Air New Zealand’s head of flight operations, Hugh Pearce, said at the time that it was an “incredibly unusual event.”
The airline launched direct flights between Auckland and Chicago in 2018. Another Air New Zealand flight experienced problems on Thursday morning. Flight NZ101 from Auckland to Sydney made a short emergency call about 45 minutes before arrival, Travel Weekly reports. The flight landed 10 minutes earlier than scheduled at 8:40 am.
An airline spokesman said the emergency call was related to a medical problem on board. For privacy reasons they were unable to provide further details.