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Emergency declared as Emirates 13-hr passenger flight returns midway due to flooding at Auckland Airport

*An Emirates Airlines flight from Dubai to Auckland, in New Zealand, Friday, January 27 returned halfway through its 8,824-mile journey, as heavy rain caused widespread chaos and triggered a local state of emergency at the Auckland International Airport

*We regret the inconvenience caused to consumers, says Emirates Spokesperson

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

An Emirates jet Friday, January 27, 2023, flew almost halfway to New Zealand from Dubai before being forced to turn back.

It was learnt the affected aircraft could not land at Auckland International Airport due to major flooding and heavy rain at the aviation facility.

Flight EK448 had departed from Dubai International Airport at around 10:30 a.m. Friday but was forced to turn back almost halfway through its 8,824-mile journey because of major flooding at its destination in Auckland, New Zealand, reports Business Insider.

The aircraft landed again, in Dubai shortly after midnight, data from Cirium and FlightAware showed.

Report indicated the Auckland International Airport shut its domestic and international terminals last Friday after heavy rain caused widespread chaos and triggered a local state of emergency.

According to the airport’s Web site, no international flights would be permitted to arrive until at least 7 a.m. local time Sunday. Domestic arrivals and departures would be permitted from 12 p.m. local time Saturday, it said.

Emirates flight EK448 was scheduled to attempt its journey to Auckland again Sunday.

Emirates apologises to air passengers

A spokesperson for Emirates reportedly said: “We regret the inconvenience caused to customers.

“Emirates will continue to monitor the situation in Auckland and issue updates where required.”

Passengers on board an American Airlines flight had a similar experience after their 10-hour journey from Dallas Fort Worth airport to Auckland had to head back for the US partway through its journey Friday, Paddle Your Own Kanoo reported.

Air New Zealand diverted its long-haul international flights to Christchurch, per Paddle Your Own Kanoo.

A spokesperson for American Airlines said: “We plan to resume our operation on Saturday, January 28.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make any additional changes to our operation as necessary.

American issued a travel alert for customers travelling to and from Auckland, allowing customers to rebook without change fees.”

The weather also seriously impeded local travel in Auckland, according to report.

Over 2,000 people stayed overnight within the terminals due to the flooding, Auckland Airport said.

In a statement, Auckland Airport Chief Executive Carrie Hurihanganui said: “This has been a significant event that has put our city into a state of emergency, and certainly the airport has never been tested in this way before.

“But the delay to reopening is necessary to ensure travelers’ safety.”

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