DALLAS — Following heavy rain on Friday night, Auckland International Airport (AKL) was closed due to flooding.
The airport was closed just hours after a landing plane collided with and damaged several runway lights, causing major flight delays. According to an initial statement from the airport, the damage to the runway lights was “impacting” international departures and large domestic flights.
Air New Zealand’s chief operational and safety officer, David Morgan, stated that a flight from Melbourne had made contact with the runway lights. The plane was able to taxi to the gate, and passengers and crew disembarked without any further incident.
The runway lights were repaired before 9:30 p.m., but widespread flooding in the terminal forced its closure. As a result, there will be no flights into or out of Auckland until at least noon on Saturday, according to a statement issued by the airport overnight.
With over 21 million passengers passing through its gates as of 2019, AKL is New Zealand’s largest and busiest airport. The airport is near Māngere, a residential suburb, and Airport Oaks, a service hub suburb south of Auckland’s central business district. It serves as an international and domestic hub for Air New Zealand (NK), as well as the New Zealand hub for Jetstar (JQ).
When the operation of the domestic and international terminals is clear, information on when flights will resume will be provided. Customers should check the NZ travel alerts page for updates.
Air New Zealand Working through Disruptions
Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer, Captain David Morgan, has stated via a press release that, following the heavy rain, flooding, and closure of AKL domestic and international terminals, the airline was working through significant flight disruptions on its network.
As Auckland is the hub of its operation, NZ is working through what its schedule will look like from midday Saturday when AKL is scheduled to reopen.
Overnight the airline saw 12 international services due into Auckland divert to other ports, causing significant flow-on effects while the airline works through getting customers on those services to their original destinations and our crew and planes back where they need to be.
The airline warns that this may take a few days to recover.
Featured image: Auckland Airport. Photo: Ingolfson – Self-photographed, Public Domain