Plane loses steering, New Plymouth airport shut

SHUT: New Plymouth airport.
SHUT: New Plymouth airport.

New Plymouth Airport was closed today after an Air New Zealand plane lost its steering and came to a halt on the runway.

The Dash 8 Q300 was heading to Wellington when the steering in its nose-wheel packed up about 2.40pm.

An Air New Zealand communications spokeswoman said flight NZ8843 from New Plymouth to Wellington encountered the issue while taxiing out to the runway and is currently unable to be moved.  

The 42 passengers on board were briefed about the problem and transported back to the terminal then bused to Wellington.

The position of the aircraft is such that other air traffic is unable to land or depart and the flights to and from the airport have been cancelled.

However, light planes can land with approval from the tower on the grass runway alongside the main runway.

An Air Nelson engineer is currently being transported to New Plymouth by helicopter with the equipment required to move the Q300 aircraft.

Air New Zealand said they apologised to passengers for the inconvenience and were working as quickly as possible to move the aircraft and return the airport to normal operations.

It’s hoped the airport would be open again tomorrow.

All passengers due to leave from the Airport today should contact Air New Zealand on 0800 737 000.

Taranaki Daily News