Air New Zealand boss Greg Foran confident flights will resume on Wednesday

Air New Zealand's boss is confident flights will resume on Wednesday after Cyclone Gabrielle caused havoc on Tuesday. 

Flights resumed briefly on Tuesday but shortly after 1pm, Air New Zealand put out a statement saying they had temporarily paused flights due to strong gusts at Auckland Airport.

In the end, all domestic and international flights to and from Auckland had been cancelled until midnight.

Air New Zealand's chief executive Greg Foran told AM he's hoping flights would resume but warned Wednesday morning would be "clunky". 

"We are pretty sure we're going to be able to get underway today, but there will be some challenges because we were hoping to get underway yesterday," Foran told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green.

"So now it's a matter of juggling planes and crew to get them in the right place because we sort of got halfway through it yesterday and then we had to bring things to a stop. So the start this morning will be clunky, would be the best way to put it." 

The suspended and cancelled flights saw passengers stranded at Auckland Airport and Foran said Tuesday was a "really difficult situation". 

"We had hoped that we'd be getting up and running, particularly by about lunchtime [on Tuesay], and that's what we'd planned for, and then suddenly the winds picked up and we found ourselves in a situation where, first of all, we couldn't get our turboprops operating and then we had to stop our domestic jets and then finally, as the afternoon and evening evolved, we suddenly found we couldn't get international planes out," he said. 

"That became a bit of a challenge because we couldn't get the planes out, planes that were mid-air coming in didn't have a gate to get to, plus, the winds were so significant we couldn't operate ground handling equipment." 

Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran.
Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran. Photo credit: AM

He told AM this saw about nine flights diverted from Auckland Airport and around 49,000 people impacted. 

The east coast of the North Island was heavily hit by Cyclone Gabrielle on Tuesday but Foran had his "fingers crossed" flights will be able to resume into Napier on Wednesday but wasn't sure about Gisborne. 

Radio and cellular communication is still affected in Gisborne but Foran said this shouldn't affect the airline. 

"We have in place the right emergency system, satellite phones to be able to operate," Foran said. 

"Communications are good and we know what we're doing there and above everything else and you saw this play out yesterday with Auckland, safety is the most important thing we do." 

Foran confirmed no passengers or airline staff have been injured. 

Watch the full interview with Greg Foran above.