Air New Zealand operates 13-hour flight to nowhere due to fault with plane windscreen

·2-min read
An Air New Zealand flight to Shanghai had to turn around mid-trip   (FlightRadar24)
An Air New Zealand flight to Shanghai had to turn around mid-trip (FlightRadar24)

An Air New Zealand flight from Christchurch to Shanghai made a 13-hour trip to nowhere when the plane turned around mid-journey.

The cargo-only flight departed Christchurch on 1 July, reported Stuff, only to divert to Auckland, landing around 13 hours after take off.

Flight tracking service FlightRadar24 shows flight NZ287 takeoff and journey north for around seven hours and 20 minutes, drawing level with the bottom of the Philippines, before turning back south again.

A spokesperson for the airline said that the plane “diverted to Auckland as a precaution due to a minor abrasion to the windscreen.

“The decision to divert to Auckland was made due to proximity of the Auckland maintenance facility, and it having the right capability and parts to fix it.”

China still has strict Covid-19 protocols in place for international arrivals, so a long stay in Shanghai waiting for parts might have been a challenge for the flight crew. When an Air New Zealand flight diverted to Hong Kong in January, following a similar but more serious windscreen issue, the crew were not allowed to disembark the plane.

It follows Air Greenland having to operate a 10-hour “flight to nowhere” after weather conditions made it impossible to land.

The airline flies one main route, the 2,200-mile journey between the Danish capital of Copenhagen and Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.

It usually takes just under five hours each way – but Greenland-bound passengers on the 21 June service wound up back in Copenhagen 10 hours after setting off.

Bad weather conditions prevented the jet from landing, and the pilots were forced to fly in a holding pattern above Kangerlussuaq airport before diverting to Keflavik in Iceland to refuel.

After pilots received word that the weather had not improved in Greenland, they took the decision to return to Copenhagen – a flight time of 2 hours 27 minutes.

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