An apparent problem with the nose-wheel of a Singapore Airlines A380 led to the plane sitting on the tarmac for about seven hours, while a runway closure forced an Emirates A380 to divert to an air force base.
Singapore Airlines flight SQ286 finally took off for Singapore Changi after waiting for hours on the tarmac at Auckland Airport, while 300 passengers sipped drinks, watched films, enjoyed refreshments and tried to work out which connections they might still be able to catch.
One passenger, Gabriel Xie, who was heading to Tokyo with his wife for their honeymoon, told the Taranaki Daily News that when the plane moved down the runway at 1.30pm to begin its scheduled takeoff, it was “wobbly” and was “going from side to side”.
Xie thought wind was buffeting the plane but the A380 then came to a standstill on the tarmac and had to be towed back to the terminal.
Xie said the captain announced there was something wrong with the nose wheel.
About 90 minutes afterwards the runway was “closed for a short time”, possibly to remove debris, an airport spokesman said.
That led to Emirates flight 406 from Melbourne being diverted. Instead of landing at Auckland as scheduled, it landed at Ohakea New Zealand Defence Force base, near Bulls in the central North Island.
Locals were startled to see an A380 at the base. The plane later flew on to Auckland.
Written by Peter Needham