Wellington to Sydney flight turns back
An Air New Zealand flight from Wellington to Sydney this morning followed an unusual flight pattern after turning back for a "technical stop".
Air New Zealand flight NZ845 left Wellington Airport bound for Sydney but appeared to turn back off Nelson before circling off the Kapiti Coast and then heading for Auckland.
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The Airbus A320 was scheduled to depart Wellington at 6:40am, Wellington time, and arrive in Sydney at 8:20am local time - a three-hour flight.
En route to Auckland, the aircraft deviated towards Hamilton before re-aligning towards Auckland, where it landed.
A member of the operations team at Auckland Airport said the flight made a "technical stop" at the airport on its way to Sydney.
Rather than landing in Wellington, the flight was diverted to Auckland where Air New Zealand’s Technical Operations base is.
The flight eventually left for Sydney and landed safely about 11:10am local time - nearly three hours later than originally scheduled.
Passengers were served complimentary drinks after the flight left Auckland.
A passenger on the plane, Renee Sara, said the pilot told passengers there was an issue with the fuel connection when the plane was over Tasman Bay north of Nelson.
The pilot told passengers he would have to burn off fuel before landing and the aircraft was diverted to Auckland.
The aircraft had since left Auckland for Sydney.
"We're hoping we won't have to get off the plane," Ms Sara said.
She and husband Brian plan to spend Wellington's anniversary weekend in Sydney.
"It's a beautiful day here in Auckland. I'm catching up with a girlfriend in Sydney. We're looking forward to it," Ms Sara said.
The plane eventually arrived in Sydney at about 1pm New Zealand time.
Image of flight NZ/ANZ845's flight route (Note: white line was not part of flight)
The Dominion Post