LATAM flight departs Auckland after three days of cancellations, only to be forced to turn back

The flights to Chile were all abandoned due to mysterious "operational reasons".
The flights to Chile were all abandoned due to mysterious "operational reasons". Photo credit: LATAM

An electrical fault is to blame for Sunday night's LATAM flight from Auckland to Santiago having to pull out of it's journey over the South Pacific Ocean and return to New Zealand.

The aborted flight came after three days of cancellations on the same route by the same airline.

LATAM Flight 800, operated using a Boeing Dreamliner, was cancelled on October 10, 11 and 12. The flight that departed on October 13 before turning around near Gisborne and returning to Auckland.

When questioned about the cancellations by Newshub, LATAM said they were "due to operational reasons", adding that the flight that returned to Auckland did so "because of operational issues", but wouldn't give any further details.

LA800 returning to Auckland.
LA800 returning to Auckland. Photo credit:

LATAM didn't elaborate on what would happen to passengers stranded in Auckland due to the cancelled flights.

A spokesperson for Airways New Zealand said Sunday night's flight returned to Auckland due to an electrical fault.

"The flight reached about 200 nautical miles from Auckland before returning. There was no emergency declared and the flight landed again at 8:40pm."

The disruption for passengers comes just a couple of weeks before the airline removes Auckland from its network, opting to fly direct from Sydney to Santiago, rather than the current flight path which includes a stopover in Auckland.

Passengers affected by the delays and cancelations have been asking the airline for an explanation through social media.

"A group of five Colombians took the LA800 flight flight from Sydney to Santiago. They took us to Auckland and dropped us there! Fortunately, we managed to fly in another plane of the same company but the bags are lost," a translation of passenger Jose Garzon's tweet reads. 


Ruth Melgar also tweeted her concern about missing a flight connection.

"Today, I had my flight from Sydney to Santiago de Chile, but the flight was canceled and they offered a solution for tonight. It's 11:35PM and we still don't have an answer. I have a flight from Santiago de Chile to Lima on Monday, with LATAM, I can't miss my flight."

The flight from Auckland to Santiago can take up to 14 hours. The October 14 LA800 Auckland - Santiago flight is scheduled to depart at 6.55pm