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Air NZ suspends regional Wellington flights

Thursday 10 Jan 2013 2:09 p.m.

Regional Air New Zealand Link flights have been suspended until further notice

Regional Air New Zealand Link flights have been suspended until further notice

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Air New Zealand has suspended all its regional flights in and out of Wellington this afternoon as severe winds continue to batter the city.

The airline says the flights, using turboprop planes, will resume when the conditions allow.

Other aircraft have aborted their landings and some have been diverted to other centres to land safely.

Five Air New Zealand flights, including a Boeing 737 from Auckland, were earlier diverted from landing at the capital and most departing flights have delays.

The strong north-easterly gales are testing the skills of pilots, with a number of jet aircraft aborting their approach before coming in for a second attempt.

A Jetstar A320 from Auckland was among the planes which performed a go-around and passengers were thrown around as the wind buffeted the plane.

“It was very rough. It started bumping and dropping so they re-circled around and we came in with a few more jolts,” says passenger Barbara Gibbs.

Another passenger said it was like no other flight he’d been on before.

“I’m thinking about taking the train back to Auckland,” says James Sword from the United States.

An Australian Air Force Boeing 737 and a private jet also came in for a second attempt.

Passengers on smaller regional aircraft were pounded by the winds as they descended into the capital

“Coming into Wellington was absolutely dreadful and we all clapped the pilot when we landed,” says Helen Hay, who flew from Nelson.

At around midnight last night, two flights from Australia were diverted to Auckland after failed attempts to land in Wellington.

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