Qantas jet 'piggybacks' Air NZ flight across Pacific

A Qantas jet "piggybacked" an Air New Zealand flight across the Pacific Ocean overnight, after its weather radar stopped working.

The Air New Zealand flight was three hours out of Los Angeles, and about 35km from the Qantas plane, when the Australian captain called on the radio to ask for help.

The planes tracked each other closely as weather updates from the Air New Zealand flight were relayed by radio to the Qantas plane, The Daily Telegraph in Sydney reported.

A Qantas spokesman said the weather antenna wasn't working to the "full satisfaction" of the crew.

The 280 passengers were not in danger and the flight continued in safety to New Zealand.

"They chose the safest option to divert to Auckland, which had preferable weather to other diversion options, coupled with the fact the Air New Zealand plane was there to provide guidance.

"The aircraft were vertically separated at all times and governed by air traffic control."

By the time the planes arrived in Auckland, a replacement antenna had been flown across the Tasman from Sydney.

With repairs complete, the flight arrived in Sydney shortly before midday today, four hours behind schedule.

The Qantas spokesman said the exact cause of the faulty weather antenna was not yet known.

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