New Zealand-bound passengers endured a 13-hour flight to nowhere after the plane they were on was forced to return to Dubai when Auckland Airport closed due to flooding.
Emirates flight EK448 had to turn around halfway through its journey after torrential rain and flooding in Auckland meant the airport had to close.
The flight took off from Dubai on Friday just before 11am (local time) and was halfway through the 9,000-mile journey when it had to circle back to the United Arab Emirates.
Auckland Airport was closed to all international and domestic flights on Friday, with more than 2,000 passengers forced to stay overnight in the terminals.
Videos from the airport show people wading through knee-deep water inside the terminal buildings.
Auckland Airport apologised to passengers impacted by the closure.
In a statement on Saturday, airport chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui said 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 at lunchtime on Saturday and international flights on Sunday morning.
Image: Record levels of rainfall pounded Auckland, causing widespread disruption (Dean Purcell/New Zealand Herald via AP)
Travellers from the US bound for New Zealand also ended up back where they started when a flight from Dallas Fort Worth to Auckland had to return to Texas after 10 hours in the air.
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.
Source : Sky News