18 Dec 2017

Aircraft brought in to cover Air NZ shortfall has own issues

7:38 am on 18 December 2017

An Airbus plane brought in to cover faulty Air New Zealand aircraft has caused problems of its own, with homebound passengers delayed up to 18 hours.

An Air New Zealand 787-9 Dreamliner at the Boeing Delivery Center in 2014.

An Air New Zealand 787-9 Dreamliner at the Boeing Delivery Center in 2014. Photo: AFP / STEPHEN BRASHEAR / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

Earlier this month about 4500 customers were affected by international flight delays and cancellations after a potentially catastrophic engine fault was found in its Dreamliner fleet.

Air New Zealand has chartered two aircraft from the Portuguese company, Hi Fly, while urgent maintenance is done on the Dreamliners' Rolls Royce engines.

The turbine blades were corroded and cracking.

The first replacement aircraft was brought in on Friday, but its flight from Sydney was impacted a day later by what Air New Zealand described only as an "engineering issue".

"Unfortunately due to curfew requirements at Sydney airport the service was cancelled, which also led to the cancellation of the return service NZ108 from Sydney to Auckland," it said in a statement.

One passenger said it took an overnight stay, a Qantas flight to Melbourne and a different Air New Zealand flight from there to get home.

"18 hours late....so yeah, quite a journey.

"Most people dealt with it pretty well but there were some people who were a bit upset. It depends on what you were over there for and whether you had anything to be back for.

"I guess the issue is really, Hi Fly is supposed to be picking up the slack after Air New Zealand's mechanical problems and they're having mechanical problems now so that's a bit of an issue.

Air New Zealand said the problem with the chartered plane had been fixed and it returned to service yesterday morning.