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AUCKLAND AIRPORT: Closes due to floods causes Emirates A380 14 hour flight to nowhere

AUCKLAND AIRPORT: Closes due to floods causes Emirates A380 14 hour flight to nowhere

Auckland Airport servicing New Zealand’s largest city, had its ground floor flooded overnight. And consequently, the airport was closed to flights leaving about 2,000 people temporarily stranded at the airport.

Emirates A380 flight to nowhere

As a result, an Emirates flight out of Dubai on its way to Auckland had to be turned back.

Emirates operates an A380 flight EK448 from Dubai (DXB) to Auckland (AKL). It is one of the longest flights in the world, at 14,200 km (8,824 miles). Scheduled to depart Dubai at 10:30 am on Friday, landing in Auckland at 11:20 am Saturday.

Not this flight, however. With Auckland airport closed, the flight got turned back to Dubai about six and a half hours into the flight, resulting in a 13-hour flight to nowhere.

Why not keep on going and divert elsewhere in New Zealand or Australia?

Notionally, it could have progressed to another port, I suppose. Still, with the complexity of crew scheduling, airport curfews, etc, it may have been wisest to return to their base airport, where it would be easiest to re-schedule and assign another aircraft and crew. Weather is also unpredictable, so determining the length of closure for the airport would also be problematic.

Diversion to another airport in New Zealand may have had limitations. Christchurch can take the A380 the world’s largest passenger plane (Emirates is about to reinstate its flight from Dubai via Sydney). However, I don’t know whether the flight would have had enough fuel for that. I’m also not sure if Wellington – probably the closest major airport to Auckland has an A380 handling capacity.

The flight would also require a layover for the passengers and crew, and using an airport that is not a regular Emirates destination would have caused some logistic problems. Where do they get flight and cabin crew? There is also the issue of organising hotel rooms to accommodate around 500 passengers, some of whom might not meet immigration entry requirements, say, if they had diverted to Australia.

My guess is all those considerations meant it was wiser to return to Dubai, where Emirates has all the resources and logistics to get those passengers back on their way as soon as possible.

Tweets, images and video

Below are some tweets showing footage of the flooded airport:

Did you know that Auckland airport is the only airport in the world to have an immersive underwater experience in the terminal?

Brilliant architecture!

Originally tweeted by STØNΞ | Roo Troop (@MorganStoneee) on January 27, 2023.

Auckland airport is fucked bro this is some biblical shit

Originally tweeted by ChefVolko🌮🍴 (@ChefVolk0) on January 27, 2023.

a yellow and black text on a yellow background
Notice on the Auckland Airports website as at 12:52 pm, AEDT

2PAXfly Takeout

Auckland Airport is not in some deep valley from memory. The sheer volume of water (249 millimetres or so) that came down that evening seems to have overwhelmed existing drainage systems.

The airport is re-opening today for domestic flights, with the International Terminal scheduled to re-open at 5 pm Saturday 28 January. Consider all International Flights into Auckland to be cancelled, or re-directed until after 4:30 pm on Sunday 29 January.

If you are affected, check with your airline, and visit the Auckland Airport website.

Good luck!

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