Passengers landing at Auckland Airport have endured a bumpy ride as Cyclone Gabrielle continues to lash the country.
Flights resumed at the airport on Tuesday after being halted on Monday due to the high winds and heavy rain lashing the region.
However, about 4pm, Air New Zealand said domestic flights had been halted again for the remainder of the day due to strong winds.
The airline’s international flights were still going ahead.
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Alison Rigby had flown from London through Dubai to get to Aotearoa for her niece’s wedding on Saturday.
However, she caught “the tail end of the cyclone” on Tuesday afternoon.
“We weren’t sure whether we were going to be able to land or whether we were going to have to head down to another airport, but thank goodness it was absolutely fine,” Rigby said.
“The last flight that arrived couldn’t get their luggage off the plane and the next plane after us had the same because it was too windy.”
Rigby said she was “so grateful” to have got through but warned “it’s absolute chaos” at the arrivals terminal.
Przemyslaw and Anna made it to Tāmaki Makaurau from Poland after three flights and a five-hour delay.
”We just wanted to sleep. We were very tired,” Anna said.
”The last flight was a bit bumpy, especially as we got closer to New Zealand,” Przemyslaw added.
Kiwi Hunter May was passing through Auckland Airport on her way home after a holiday in the United States.
“We were delayed until 2am. It took an hour and a half to get through Customs but overall we were pretty lucky,” May said.
She was relieved to be back in New Zealand.
“I definitely thought the flight would be a lot worse. I was most worried about being stuck in America but at least I’m home now.”
Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and safety officer Captain David Morgan said the strength and direction of winds at Auckland Airport on Tuesday afternoon were making it challenging to service aircraft.
It would be unsafe for the airline’s teams to operate in those conditions, he said.
International flights were still running because the international terminal was more sheltered from winds, he said.
”With forecast strong winds for the remainder of the day, customers are warned to expect ongoing disruption and delays.”
Air New Zealand planned to resume scheduled services from Wednesday, Morgan said.
“Today’s disruptions mean tomorrow will begin without all aircraft and crew in the locations required. We can also expect ongoing weather challenges, so we’re asking customers to please bear with us – our people are doing everything they can.”
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