Air New Zealand flight bound for Vancouver forced to return to Auckland after discovery of mechanical fault

An Air New Zealand flight bound for Vancouver has been forced to return to Auckland on Saturday evening after a mechanical fault was discovered mid-flight. 

Air New Zealand flight NZ24 to Vancouver departed Auckland at 8:49pm on Saturday evening, but 90 minutes into the flight, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner was forced to make a U-turn after the discovery of a mechanical issue.  

"Flight NZ24 from Auckland to Vancouver was required to turn back to Auckland approximately 90 minutes into the flight to address to an issue with one of the aircraft's flight spoilers, which was identified en route," Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and safety officer Captain David Morgan said in a statement. 

Spoilers are small, hinged plates on the top portion of wings. 

Morgan said the aircraft returned to Auckland Airport and Air New Zealand's maintenance teams inspected and rectified the issue allowing the aircraft to re-depart. 

"The safety of our customers and crew is our biggest priority and our pilots are highly trained for these scenarios," Morgan said.  

"The aircraft was prepared for take off not long after and safely departed for Vancouver and is due to land later this afternoon. We thank customers for their patience while we worked to get them to where they needed to be." 

Flight tracking data show the flight is scheduled to land at 5:01pm (NZ time).

It comes after Air New Zealand has been named as the world's safest airline for 2024 by Airline Ratings, a travel information website.

Airline Ratings said factors in making the evaluation include serious incidents, recent fatal accidents, audits, profitability, safety initiatives, pilot training assessments and fleet age.

Qantas was named the second safest airline with Virgin Australia coming in third.

Top 10 safest airlines for 2024: 

  1. Air New Zealand
  2. Qantas
  3. Virgin Australia
  4. Etihad Airways
  5. Qatar Airways
  6. Emirates
  7. All Nippon Airways
  8. Finnair
  9. Cathay Pacific Airways
  10. Alaska Airlines