'Uneventful' Air NZ flight finally touches down at Pudong airport
A rearranged flight taking some 270 stranded passengers on a returned Air New Zealand service from Auckland to Shanghai finally landed at Pudong airport on Monday morning.
The newly deployed Boeing 787-9, operating as Flight NZ289D, took off from Auckland airport around 11:30pm local time on Sunday, touching down at Pudong International Airport at 6:16am Beijing time on Monday.
The flight was originally scheduled to land at Pudong airport at 7:05am Beijing time on Sunday, but the Boeing 787-9 used had to turn back about 5 hours after taking off from Auckland airport due to an administrative blunder.
Due to the "improper temporary deployment of aircraft," the new Dreamliner, which has never touched down in the Chinese mainland before, was found to be lacking the required permission to land, the airline said in a statement.
All passengers on board flight NZ289 were given vouchers for food and drinks, as well as NZ$200 each (US$135) to spend on shopping at the airport, the carrier announced. It also assigned staff, including those who speak Mandarin, to escort passengers at the airport and help them board the rearranged flight.
An assistant professor at New York University Shanghai, Eric Hundman, was on board the flight. He initially described the incident on Twitter as "a new level of China bad."
Hundman deleted his initial tweet this morning and issued an apology.
“After landing from a 9-hour flight to nowhere, I posted a tweet that blamed China for what I have since learned was an Air NZ screwup," the tweet read. "... my sincere apologies to anyone who felt attacked."
"As for the new flight last night," he told Shanghai Daily, "it was uneventful."
Another passenger on board said her birthday on Sunday was spoiled after the 12-hour journey ended up taking her the whole weekend.
The follow-up flight, NZ288 from Pudong to Auckland, has been cancelled on Monday due to the incident.
A local student studying in New Zealand complained on Weibo that the cancellation might affect her registration for the new semester. She has rebooked on another airline to get back to Auckland in time.
According to China's civil aviation regulation, foreign carriers are required to submit a list of the type, nationality and registration mark of aircraft scheduled to land in the Chinese mainland to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) before operating a flight.