Currently, Auckland, New Zealand has declared a state of emergency after a strong torrential rain that freezes the city. The north island received 75% of its usual summer rainfall in just 15 hours.
And not only the city was hit, but Auckland Airport was also badly hit. The severity of the downpour flooded the whole airport up to several inches high. Photos are emerging on social media showing the check-in counters flooding ankle-high and passengers being told to evacuate the terminal.
As time passes by, you could notice the floodwater rise up to knee-high. As of January 27, 2023, all domestic and international flights are halted and airlines are notifying passengers to re-accommodate passengers for the next available flights.
Passengers Stranded On Board After Flooding Shuts Down Airport
The flooding was so severe a flight full of passengers to Sydney was not able to disembark the aircraft and had to spend overnight inside the aircraft. I think it will be really horrible for passengers to be seated on un-operating aircraft and spend a night.
Flights To Auckland Airport Being Diverted Or Cancelled
With the rain slowly subsiding, Auckland Airport resumed its domestic operation on Saturday, January 28, 2023, however, there will be no international departures as early as 5 AM on Sunday local time. This is due to operational reasons as international flights require more systems to prepare.
The departures and arrival chart shows the majority of Air New Zealand diverted to nearby Christchurch or Wellington.
The flooding caused quite a scene for airlines departing and arriving in Auckland. Air New Zealand flights arriving from New York diverted to Honolulu while flights from Asia mostly diverted to Australia.
Emirates Flies To Nowhere For 13 Hours
Emirates flight from Dubai to Auckland operated by superjumbo A380 took off at 10:30 AM as scheduled on January 27, 2023 however, it fell victim when the aircraft flew for 6.5 hours southwards. When the airline learned that Auckland AIrpot was closed, a decision was made to return back to Dubai.
In the end, Emirates EK442 returned back to Dubai 30 past midnight leaving unhappy passengers returning to where they started 13 hours later.
Some of the reasons behind the Emirates’ diversion are probably due to operational and logistical issues faced when diverted to a third country. As A380 carries massive 500+ passengers on board, re-accommodating all these passengers to a hotel will be massive work for the airline.
Therefore, the wisest option for Emirates was to bring the passengers back to Dubai.
Auckland, New Zealand was hit by severe weather which flooded the whole city which includes the airport as well. The airport taxiway was damaged due to the flood and the terminal was flooded knee-high.
The airport closure impacted almost all flights to Auckland and many were diverted to nearby cities or even other countries. Emirates flight EK448 was one of the unfortunate airlines which flew nowhere for 13 hours before returning back to Dubai.
Auckland Airport is currently half-operational and will not be accepting international flights until early Sunday morning, January 29, 2023.