AUCKLAND- A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Air New Zealand (NZ) en route to Canada experienced a mid-flight turnaround on Saturday (6 January 2024) due to a mechanical fault occurring shortly after the airline was recognized as the world’s safest.
The 787 Dreamliner, operating as Flight NZ24 from Auckland (AKL) to Vancouver (YVR), departed at 8:30 pm on January 6 but had to return to Auckland just 90 minutes into the journey.
Air New Zealand’s 787 U-Turn
Captain David Morgan, the Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer for Air New Zealand reported to Stuff that an issue with one of the aircraft’s spoilers was identified during the flight.
Spoilers are surfaces located on the top of a wing that can be extended upward into the airflow. They are employed to decrease lift in an aircraft and are typically used during the landing phase.
The aircraft needed to go back to Auckland Airport to address the issue before resuming its departure.
Captain David Morgan stated, “The aircraft returned to Auckland, and our maintenance teams inspected and rectified the issue, allowing the aircraft to depart again.”
He mentioned that the flight is now scheduled to arrive in Vancouver on Sunday afternoon, January 7, according to New Zealand time.
Safest Airline in the World
The mechanical issue affecting Flight NZ24 occurred just a few hours after Air New Zealand secured the title of the safest airline in the world for 2024.
This recognition was bestowed by Airline Ratings, a travel information website, with Air New Zealand narrowly surpassing Qantas (QF) for the top position.
Various factors contributed to the airline’s safety rating, including the absence of serious incidents, fatal accidents, reports from governing bodies, financial performance, safety initiatives, pilot training, and the age of the fleet.
Launched in October 2011, the Dreamliner has become one of the most widely used wide-body jet airliners, and Air New Zealand currently operates a fleet of 14 of these aircraft.
However, between 2017 and 2020, Air New Zealand faced challenges as Dreamliners had to be sent for servicing due to issues with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines installed on the planes. During that period, the airline had to ground up to five 787-9 Dreamliners.
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