Air New Zealand plane struck by lightning

  • 14/07/2016

Labour leader Andrew Little was a passenger on board an Air New Zealand flight struck by lightning on Thursday.

Flight 410 landed safely in Auckland after it was struck by lightning in the middle of its flight from Wellington.

Mr Little said while it was "shocking experience...everyone took it in their stride".

"Everybody looked at each other but the plane kept flying and everybody kept calm and we landed and it was fine," he said.

He recalled a "big flash of lightning that seemed to go right around the airplane".

"And then there was a big bang - and then the plane bumped along a bit."

An Air NZ spokeswoman said the plane landed without incident and would be inspected by engineers.

"Lightning strikes are not uncommon and aircraft are designed with this in mind," she said.

It's estimated that US commercial airplanes are each struck by lightning at least once a year. 

Aircraft often trigger lightning when flying through heavily charged parts of a cloud, according to Scientific American magazine.