Air NZ Japan-bound flight returns to Auckland after engine shuts down

An Air New Zealand plane en route to Japan was forced to turn back to Auckland after one of its engines shut down mid-air.

Newshub entertainment reporter Kate Rodger and Newshub cameraman Billy Paine were on board, bound for Tokyo, and Rodger says they heard a "sizeable clunk" about 20 minutes into the flight on Tuesday morning.

"It was enough to make Billy and I both look at each other."

Shortly after Rodger heard another clunk, followed by a rattling noise.

"We were watching the two cabin crew, who went immediately on to their phones.

"I thought if I'm going to figure out anything it'll be from their reactions."

Rodger says the attendants both maintained smiles as not to raise alarm.

Soon after that the pilot announced "minor engine issues" and that they may need to turn the flight around.

"There was no panic and it was a very full flight, about 150 Japanese teenage school kids on board."

"No drama, no one was fussed.

"I'm glad it happened 20 minutes out from Auckland and not out in the middle of the ocean."

Emergency services were on standby, the spokeswoman told Stuff, however it was not an emergency landing.

Emergency services were on standby for the landing.
Emergency services were on standby for the landing. Photo credit: Newshub.

Upon landing fire crews immediately started hosing down the engine, Rodger says.

Fire and ambulance were then stood down at the scene.

Air New Zealand has allocated another plane for the flight to Narita, due to depart shortly.