Plane sent back due to curfew

A plane only minutes from landing at Queenstown Airport had to return to Auckland because it would have breached the airport’s night flight curfew.

Queenstown Airport communications manager Jen Andrews said the Air New Zealand flight was on its final approach, about 6km from the runway, when it was diverted.

"It was due to be wheels down at 9:58pm, but because of the other aircraft on the runway taking off, it wasn’t going to make curfew."

The other aircraft, also an Air New Zealand flight, took off two minutes before the 10pm curfew.

Both flights had been delayed by about two hours because of weather disruption, Ms Andrews said.

The turnaround came only two days after the airport apologised to Frankton residents for a curfew breach in May.

Airport chief executive Colin Keel said he thanked Air New Zealand for adhering to the airport’s consent requirements and "acting in the best interests of our community".

It had happened on a "challenging day with weather conditions disrupting airline networks around the country".

On Tuesday, the airport apologised for allowing a Jetstar flight to take off 13 minutes outside the airport’s consented hours on May 20.

In a statement on the airport’s investigation of the breach, Mr Keel said the noise made by the plane was "unacceptable for residents who were disturbed".

Corrective actions were being put in place that would affect airlines, the airport’s operations team and air traffic control.

They would ensure correct procedures were followed in the future, he said.

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