'Full emergency' declared at Auckland Airport as plane forced to land

A full emergency was declared at Auckland International Airport on Thursday afternoon when a smoke detector warning light went off on an Air New Zealand flight.

Air NZ flight 8109 to Palmerston North declared emergency over Tuakau and was required to make an emergency landing.

According to data on aircraft tracking websites, the aircraft got to a height of 7000 feet before beginning a descent and turning back to Auckland.

Emergency services and St John were on standby, but the plane landed safely at 12.25pm.

Auckland International Airport confirmed the aircraft had landed without incident via a tweet.

In a statement, Air NZ said the flight returned to Auckland this afternoon after a smoke indicator warning light illuminated.

Air traffic control facilitated a priority landing and passengers exited the aircraft as soon as it pulled off the runway.

Air NZ says the aircraft is now being checked following the incident and passengers are being transferred to different flights.

A "full emergency" refers to when authorities put in place a large-scale response to the airport due to a situation with an inbound aircraft. Other aircraft are often delayed as a result.