An Air New Zealand flight bound for Tokyo International Airport (TYO) on June 19, 2023 was forced to return to Auckland Airport (AKL) mid-flight due to windscreen damage.
Flight NZ99 was about 3.5 hours into the flight when it turned round and headed back to Auckland Airport.
Based on FlightRadar24’s playback, the aircraft, a Boeing B787, was in the area of Port Vila, Vanuatu, when it turned around.
David Morgan, Air New Zealand’s chief operational integrity and safety officer said that the outer layer of the windscreen incurred damage.
“Windows on aircraft are made up of multiple layers to withstand damage, however, to ensure the safety of our customers and crew it’s part of our standard operating procedure to return to one of our ports to allow our maintenance team to undertake repairs,” Morgan told various media outlets.
Data from Flightradar24 reveals that the aircraft, with registration ZK-NZJ, is a six-year-old Dreamliner, delivered to Air New Zealand in September 2016.
The flight touched down in AKL Airport just after 15:00 local time.
This is not the first time that an Air New Zealand flight made a U-turn for safety.
In July 2022, flight NZ287, a cargo flight, took off from Christchurch Airport (CHC) to Shanghai International Airport (PVG). The flight diverted to Auckland as a precaution due to a minor abrasion to the windscreen.
In January 2022, flight NZ1082, a flight from CHC Airport to Guangzhou International Airport (CAN) had to divert to Hong Kong due to a crack in the cockpit windshield.