Air NZ aircraft diverted to Tauranga and Rotorua

Air NZ flights were diverted to Tauranga, Rotorua and Hamilton, and a Singapore Airlines flight was diverted to the Ohakea Defence Force base. Photo: Ricky Wilson/Stuff

Six Air New Zealand turboprop aircrafts due to land at Auckland Airport were diverted to Tauranga, Rotorua and Hamilton on Friday after debris was found on the runway, an Air NZ spokesperson says.

Four Air NZ regional flights departing from Auckland Airport were also delayed.

Passengers on a flight from Singapore got a nearly four-hour surprise stopover at Ohakea after Auckland airport's runway was shut down on Friday.

Two international and three domestic flights were diverted from the airport on Friday afternoon during the "brief" closure for maintenance, an Airways spokeswoman said.

Flight SQ285 was due in Auckland at 1.20pm but instead was forced to the air base near Palmerston North, where passengers were not allowed off the plane.

It was all a surprise according to New Plymouth resident Jeff Richards, who had been in Singapore on business.

"They just said we'd been diverted from Auckland and we were going to Ohakea. But once we landed they didn't say where we were going. They just told us the tarmac was damaged in Auckland."

But he said they weren't given a lot of information on how long it would be closed for.

"It was annoying, especially after a 10 hour flight from Singapore. But what can you do about it?" says Auckland resident Meera Phadke.

Meera says she was just happy to be back home.

British tourist Nathasha Elliot said she wasn't fazed by the diversion after already flying all the way from the United Kingdom to Singapore.

"It's not the end of the world and it was only a four hour delay."

Six Air New Zealand turboprop aircrafts due to land at Auckland Airport were diverted to Tauranga, Rotorua and Hamilton after debris was found on the runway, an Air NZ spokesperson said.

Labour MP Marja Lubeck, whose flight from Wellington was delayed, took the opportunity to enjoy some "extra lovely views".

A spokesperson for Auckland Airport says runway integrity was its "highest priority".

"We have a comprehensive aerodrome management programme which includes a physical inspection of the runway four times in every 24 hour period.

"On occasion Auckland Airport will temporarily close the runway to allow closer inspection of a particular area and/or undertake maintenance if required."

Stephen Forbes/Stuff


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