Air New Zealand has turned around a Boeing 787-9 enroute from Auckland to Shanghai after discovering mid-flight the aircraft was not permitted to land in China.
The incident occurred early on Sunday morning, February 10 2019, about five hours after ZK-NZQ took off from Auckland airport as the NZ289 bound for Shanghai.
At that point, passengers were informed flight had to return to Auckland because the aircraft did not have the required approvals to operate into China.
As this image from the AirportWebcams Twitter page showed, the ZK-NZQ was just west of New Caledonia when it reversed course and headed back to Auckland.
NEWS: Air New Zealand #NZ289 Auckland to Shanghai (Boeing 787-9 ZK-NZQ) returned to AKL at 0935NZDT today (2035UTC Saturday) due to the operating aircraft not being in CAAC's database of those cleared to land in the country: https://t.co/QSEZsei2hb pic.twitter.com/bndFdbuxVd
— Airport Webcams (@AirportWebcams) February 10, 2019
One passenger on the flight, Eric Hundman, posted on his Twitter page that the airline apologised for the incident.
— Eric Hundman | 何諳銳 (@ehundman) February 9, 2019
The passengers were put up either at hotels or lounges in the airport while waiting for the airline to organise a replacement aircraft.
They eventually took off to Shanghai for a second time on Sunday evening. The flight landed on Monday morning.
An Air New Zealand spokesperson told The New Zealand Herald an administrative issue with ZK-NZQ meant the aircraft was not able to be flown to China.
“It is normal process to get a flight plan cleared by local authorities prior to departure and this was done on this occasion and was approved by Chinese authorities,” Air New Zealand told the newspaper.
“Unfortunately, it was discovered during the flight that this particular aircraft did not, in fact, have the necessary permit to land.”
Air New Zealand accepted delivery of ZK-NZQ in September 2018. The aircraft is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines and is configured with 18 business, 21 premium economy and 263 economy class seats.
The aircraft was acquired on lease Air Lease Corporation and is one of 13 787-9s in its fleet, which are used on services to the Americas, Asia, the South Pacific and across the Tasman.
An image of ZK-NZQ from Jennifer Schuld’s Twitter page.
Delivered: Air New Zealand 787-9 ZK-NZQ left Everett for Auckland this morning as flight ANZ6094. pic.twitter.com/QtYbGBpgBk
— Jennifer Schuld (@JenSchuld) September 20, 2018
The airline was due to repot its 2018/19 first half financial results on February 28 2019.
It recently warned pre-tax profits would be lower than previously forecast due to softer travel growth and disruptions caused by mandatory engine inspections on its 787-9 fleet.