23 Feb 2012

Bad weather disrupts flights

9:57 pm on 23 February 2012

Flights throughout the country have been disrupted by heavy rain and severe winds on Thursday.

In Dunedin, all flights at the airport were stopped for about three hours in the morning as rain was pooling on the runway, making it too dangerous to land or take off.

The rain also attracted a flock of seagulls to the runway and an Air New Zealand flight at 6.50am to Wellington had to be aborted after it struck some birds as it was about to lift off.

The plane has been checked by engineers.

Dunedin Airport chief executive John McCall says south-westerly winds kept water on the runway in the morning, but the winds had dropped later on.

The airport stayed open during the evening and all flights took off as expected.

Bumpy time in capital

Strong winds made flying in and out of Wellington Airport difficult also on Thursday.

Two planes had to be diverted to Palmerston North as they could not land in the capital due to turbulence.

A flight from Christchurch to Wellington made two attempts to land before being diverted. It stayed briefly in Palmerston North to refuel

before returning to Wellington where it landed just before 5.30pm.

Earlier in the day, a flight from Napier to Wellington was diverted to Palmerston North. Passengers were then transported by road.

A flight from Gisborne to Wellington was cancelled due to high winds.