Strong winds in Cook Islands force two Air New Zealand flight back to Auckland

Two flights had to return back to Auckland.
Two flights had to return back to Auckland. Photo credit: Getty Images/Flight Radar

Passengers heading to Rarotonga on Friday have had their holidays slightly shortened after strong winds at the island destination forced two Air New Zealand flights to turn back to Auckland just moments before beginning the landing process.

Flight NZ940 left Auckland at 8.55am on Friday, but was unable to land so returned to New Zealand. The same thing happened to flight NZ942 which left Auckland at 11.35am but returned a few hours later for the same reason.

"Flights NZ940 and NZ942 Auckland - Rarotonga returned to Auckland this morning due to the bad weather conditions causing crosswinds in Rarotonga," Air NZ Chief Customer & Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty told Newshub.

"We look forward to delivering our customers to the warm beaches of the Cook Islands soon."

Air NZ put customers on NZ940 onto a flight on Saturday morning, before the passengers on NZ942 were flown on Sunday morning.   

Accommodation was provided to those who were transiting in Auckland before their next flight.