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Tonga diversion adds two hours to Rarotonga flight

Wednesday 21 December 2022 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in National, Travel

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Tonga diversion adds two hours to Rarotonga flight

An Air New Zealand flight to Rarotonga was delayed by more than two hours yesterday, after being diverted to Tongatapu Fuaʻamotu International Airport in Tonga.

Air NZ 946 was originally scheduled to fly out of Auckland about 8.50am yesterday and land in Rarotonga about 1.45pm.

However, the flight was rerouted to Tonga.

It was scheduled to leave Auckland at 8.50am but departed at 9.36am.

The flight was scheduled to leave Tonga at 12.25pm, but left at 1.18pm, and was initially scheduled to land on Rarotonga at 3.54pm, which was then updated on FlightRadar24 to 4.26pm.

The flight landed about 4.30pm.

Cook Islands News contacted Air NZ in Auckland with questions yesterday.

The newspaper asked the airline what had happened, when passengers had been told the flight would be diverted, how much time the changes would add to the flight schedule and if passengers would be compensated.   

The newspaper also contacted Air New Zealand country manager in Rarotonga, Addrienne Hosking-Tinirau who said she had no idea what was going on.

“I should know,” she said.

“I have an operations team - they will update where they can.”    

An Air NZ spokesperson sent a response in writing, confirming “Air New Zealand flight NZ946 from Auckland to Rarotonga has been diverted to Tonga for a short stop in order to deliver an engineer and parts to repair another aircraft.”

Cook Islands News asked the airline what was the matter with the aircraft in Tonga, what type of aircraft it was, and if the repair changed any other flight timetables.   

“Customers are being communicated with and we thank them for their patience as we work hard to get them to where they need to go for Christmas,” the spokesperson wrote. 

She said the delay ws expected to be less than an hour and the passengers to Rarotonga wouldn’t  need to disembark the aircraft (in Tonga).

“Our onboard crew have advised all customers.”