Pilot's poor communication blamed for 'panic' during landing

5:51 am on 22 May 2018

A passenger on board an Air New Zealand plane that had to circle over Tauranga Airport for almost two hours says there needed to be better communication from the crew about what was happening.

Air New Zealand plane

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Flight NZ 8262 from Wellington landed without incident at about 9.15pm last night.

The pilots had earlier reported a landing gear indication fault and requested emergency services be on standby on the runway.

Passenger John Hurihanganui said the first inkling he got that something was wrong was when the pilot aborted their first landing.

"We circled two or three times before we heard from the captain, who said that there was some kind of technical malfunction that they needed to sort out.

"[The captain said] they've got plenty of fuel, so they'll be circling around. We were told at that time that we would be on the ground in about 10 minutes," Mr Hurahanganui said.

But that didn't happen.

"Twenty-five minutes later or so it started to become quite repetitive being told, 'Oh, in 10 minutes this will happen and that will happen.' And, actually, not only did it not happen but we weren't updated. It was probably the most frustrating thing."

As the plane kept circling, passengers were getting increasingly uncomfortable.

"I could hear people around me and behind me starting to raise their voices, I guess in panic," he said.

The situation wasn't helped by the lack of information from the crew. Air New Zealand could have done better.

There were 50 passengers and three crew on board the Bombardier Q300 aircraft.