An investigation is under way into why an Air New Zealand
flight from Wellington to Auckland lost cabin pressure this
morning, causing emergency oxygen masks to deploy.
Auckland airport emergency services were put on stand-by as
the plane came in to land.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission is now
investigating why the Air New Zealand Boeing 737-300 aircraft
cabin suddenly depressurised.
The Commission's Chief Investigator of Accidents Captain Tim
Burfoot says a two person team is on its way to Auckland to
begin the inquiry.
Air New Zealand flight 414 left Wellington at 7.30am when it
experienced a gradual loss of cabin pressure on approach to
Auckland which caused the oxygen masks to automatically
deploy in the cabin.
"The pilots immediately initiated a descent to 7,000 feet and
the cabin crew advised passengers that oxygen masks were no
longer required at that point," Air New Zealand Chief Flight
Operations and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan said.
"The aircraft landed without further incident and engineers
are now investigating the cause of the incident."
MP Claudette Hauiti was on the flight, and tweeted that
passengers were calm, but that her oxygen mask failed to
Air New Zealand is yet to respond to queries on whether some
masks failed to deploy.
Olympic triathlete Hamish Carter, who was on the flight, said
the experience was "a bit of a shock".
"It was relatively scary for a while, not something you'd
expect to happen."
"There was no panic or anything, it's just that doesn't
Mr Carter said he noticed a definite change in cabin pressure
when the oxygen masks dropped.
His ears popped, but there was no sudden change in altitude.
"I definitely felt something was a bit odd."
Passenger Codey Jervis said oxygen masks dropped when the
flight was about 20 minutes away from Auckland.
Mr Jervis, a Wellington marketing assistant, said there were
no sudden changes in cabin pressure or loss of altitude.
"The staff kept us informed the whole time, they were really
good," he said.
"Some passengers of course were distressed but everybody
remained calm and it wasn't too bad."
Mr Jervis said he was not alarmed when the masks dropped.
"It was annoying, it got in the way of me reading the
newspaper," he said.
"I think some people just found it unnerving. There was no
one [who] got out of their seats, there wasn't chaos or panic
but I think some people just deal with things like that in
Once the plane had descended to a lower altitude passengers
were told to remove oxygen masks and the flight "flew as
normal", he said.
He said there was "a little bit of clapping" once the plane
landed safely in Auckland.
A spokeswoman for Wellington Airport said the drama was an
issue for Air New Zealand and would not comment further.
Auckland Airport confirmed it was put on "local standby",
with its emergency services attending the aircraft once it
Air New Zealand has 11 Boeing 737-300s in its fleet and on
average they are more than 15 years old.
The planes are progressively being phased out and replaced by
new Airbus A320 planes which are bigger and more fuel
- Kurt Bayer and Lydia Anderson of APNZ