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Tropical storm Gabrielle grounds most New Zealand flights

written by Adam Thorn | February 13, 2023

Australian Aviation’s Blair Dods waits for his Air New Zealand 787-9, ZKNZQ msn 39296, to depart Auckland for Sydney

Domestic and international flights in New Zealand have all but been grounded as storm Gabrielle passes over the country.

At Auckland Airport on Monday, 94 per cent of departures were cancelled, while Air New Zealand halted much of its network, including all Tasman flights.

The former tropical cyclone made landfall in Northland, on the top of the North Island, on Sunday night, causing severe winds that brought down trees and power lines.

Meteorologists are predicting 200mm of rain could fall on Monday in Auckland and 400mm to the east in Coromandel.

Air New Zealand safety officer Captain David Morgan said on Sunday the threat of strong fluctuating crosswinds meant the airline had to run a minimal service until Tuesday morning.


“We’ve cancelled five long-haul international arrivals into Auckland tomorrow as well as departures,” he said.

“New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Singapore arrivals are operating as normal but may be required to divert to another New Zealand port.

“All Tasman and Pacific Island flights tomorrow have also been cancelled.

“In addition, all flights to, from or through Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Taupo are cancelled through till midday Tuesday. We’d like to thank customers for their continued understanding if their plans are impacted.”

“Given that the trajectory and strength of cyclone Gabrielle is fluid, customers should prepare for further flight cancellations. Our priority is the safety of our customers, staff and infrastructure and we will only operate flights if it’s safe to do so.”

Air New Zealand has also cancelled:

  • All flights to or from Kerikeri and Whangarei between midday Sunday and Tuesday morning;
  • All turboprop flights to, from or through Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Taupo from midday Sunday through to midday Tuesday;
  • Long-haul international departures from Auckland on Monday are cancelled.

The airline said customers affected could either hold their fare in credit for 12 months or rebook in the same class of travel between Sunday, 12 February 2023 and Wednesday, 22 February 2023, without fare difference, penalty or service fees.

The business will also look to use larger aircraft to increase capacity when the storm is over to elevate an expected backlog in travel. Qantas and Jetstar also cancelled all flights to and from Auckland for much of Monday.

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