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13 Hour Flight to Nowhere After Auckland Airport Floods

13 Hour Flight to Nowhere After Auckland Airport Floods

white and red Emirates passenger plane in the sky
Photo by Fabian Joy on Unsplash

Plane returns to Dubai when unable to land in New Zealand due to flooding.

After torrential rain and flooding in New Zealand forced the Auckland airport to close, flights from around the world had to return to their home airports, including an Emirates flight EK448, which had to turn around halfway through its 9,000-mile journey when it had to circle back to Dubai.

Flights from the US also ended up back to their departure gates after the closure. A flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Auckland was diverted back to Texas after 10 hours in the air. The flight from Dubai to Auckland usually takes about 16 hours in total, whereas Dallas-Fort Worth to New Zealand is a 15 hour flight one way.

Auckland Airport was closed to all international and domestic flights on Friday, with more than 2,000 passengers forced to spend the night in the terminals.

Video from travelers posted to social media shows passengers trudging through ankle-high water near ticketing counters:

Auckland airport's chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui said in a statement to press Saturday, that it had been a "really long and challenging night."

"Our teams, and those of our airport partners, continue to work around the clock to make sure we can get our domestic and international terminal operations open safely as soon as possible," she said.

The airport was reopened to domestic flights mid-day Saturday and international flights returned Sunday morning.

A state of emergency was declared in Auckland on Friday when the city was hit with a whole summer's worth of rain in a single day.
Four people died in the storm which caused widespread flooding and landslides and led to road closures, power cuts and a train derailment.
Further heavy rain is forecast for the beginning of this week and Auckland Airport has warned of further flight disruptions.

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