Auckland fog disrupts travellers

SIMON DAY
Last updated 18:08 30/07/2013
Fog over Auckland
SEAN WILLIS

BLANKETED: Fog over Auckland this morning.

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Heavy morning fog and a crippled plane that partly closed a runway caused delays and cancellations at Auckland Airport today.

The Qantas plane that broke down on the runway was towed away, but there were delays as a result of the partial closure of the runway.

The airport said the plane, which had arrived from Sydney, had problems with its brakes as it was taxiing off the runway.

It waited to be towed for at least half an hour, and flights had been diverted to other airports.

Some flights were diverted to Christchurch and Wellington, but later returned to Auckland.

An Auckland Airport spokesman said the plane broke down on the taxiway, but for safety reasons officials decided to close part of the runway.

At least 10 domestic flights were cancelled as a result of heavy fog.

A further seven flights that were scheduled to arrive at the airport in the morning were cancelled.

Some flights were delayed before the fog lifted about 11.20am.

All affected flights were small propeller aircraft operated by Air New Zealand.

"These do happen from time to time. Auckland Airport's objective is to maintain safety and have the airport operating as quickly as possible after such events," an airport spokesman said.

One victim of the fog missed a job interview in Auckland after his flight from Napier got only as far as Tauranga, where passengers were transferred to a bus.

By the time he got to Auckland, he was too late and looking to take the next flight back to Napier.

The man, who did not want to be identified, said he had missed an interview for his "dream job", a finance graduate position.

Air New Zealand said it had taken all reasonable steps to ensure customers completed a disrupted journey as soon as possible.

A spokeswoman said that could include offering alternative transport to their destination or putting them on the next available service.

Air New Zealand did not operate direct services between Tauranga and Napier so flying the passenger directly home was impossible, she said.

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