Drone forces 20 aircraft to delay landing at Auckland Airport

An Air New Zealand flight from Tokyo to Auckland has been forced to divert to Ohakea Air Force base near Palmerston North - a whopping 500km away.

The diversion occurred just before 12pm on Tuesday, after a drone was spotted on the approach to Auckland Airport.

Passenger Mo Maisey spoke to Newshub while the aircraft was refuelling in Ohakea.

She said the flight circled near Auckland for 30 minutes before climbing and heading south, due to reports of a drone being flown near the airport.

An email sent to passengers on the flight from Air New Zealand confirmed the aircraft was forced to divert to Ohakea to refuel due to a drone being sighted near the airport.

Flight tracking website showing Air NZ Flight 92
Photo credit: Flightradar24

Airways New Zealand, who are in charge of monitoring New Zealand's air space, told Newshub the pilot alerted air traffic control to the presence of a drone in controlled airspace.

Following the report, around 20 aircraft chose to circle until they received clearance to land - and one flight, the Air New Zealand flight from Tokyo, chose to divert for fuel.

Police responded their Eagle helicopter to the Whitford area after being contacted by the airport.

The drone was not located and police say there are no current lines of enquiry.