Air New Zealand's non-stop New York to Auckland service forced to make stop due to weather

Flight NZ1 from New York's John F Kennedy Airport took off just after 4pm this afternoon, and is expected to arrive in Auckland tomorrow morning at 11:15am, 3 hours and 45 minutes later than scheduled.

Air NZ said the flight is expected to fly into unusually strong headwinds as it flies south from North America, confirming a stop in Fiji will be needed so more fuel can be loaded onto the aircraft.

"The forecast headwinds en route are significantly stronger than usual - stronger than our 12 months of modelling and other data stretching back much further. Refuelling in Nadi is our standard contingency plan for these circumstances and has also been used in previous years for other routes on our network. While these sorts of headwinds are very rare, they do happen, and we've planned for it," Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer David Morgan said.

"All 210 customers were advised of the delay prior to departure and we are working to rebook any onward travel. There is no cargo onboard our southbound route from New York, and we've intentionally left seats unsold to manage weight."

The airline said flights operated by other airlines flying similar routes have also experienced extensive delays.

"We will have NZ1 home safe and sound - just a little later than expected," Morgan said.

The flight will perform a "gas and go" in Fiji, meaning the aircraft won't be on the ground for long.