Passenger Plane Flies For 13 Hours But Lands At The Same Airport It Took Off From

By Abdul Rafay in Travel On 10th December 2023
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Credit: FlightRadar

After thirteen hours in the air, a commercial airplane was compelled to return to the same airfield.

Emirates flight EK448 departed Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at 10:30 am on January 27 and arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, earlier this year.

It never did, however, reach its intended location.

It was supposed to take 16 hours to travel 9,000 miles from Dubai to Auckland, but the plane returned to Dubai International Airport after only 13 hours in the air.

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Why? When pilots learned that Auckland Airport had been closed due to catastrophic flooding caused by a storm of torrential rain that pounded the city, many people died.

According to the FlightAware data from the flight, the aircraft took off from the airport, crossed the sea, and passed close to Malaysia before needing to do a U-turn and landing back at the Dubai airport shortly after midnight on Saturday, January 28.

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Due to flooding that left travelers stranded within the terminal buildings wading through knee-deep flood water, Auckland Airport was forced to close and cancel both local and international flights.

In a statement, it said: “Auckland Airport has been assessing the damage to our international terminal and unfortunately determined that no international flights can operate today.”

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“We know this is extremely frustrating but the safety of passengers is our top priority.”

Domestic flights at Auckland Airport restarted on Saturday at lunchtime, and international flights started up again on Sunday morning (January 28).

Airport CEO Carrie Hurihanganui expressed regret to everyone impacted by the shutdown, stating that it had been a "very long and difficult night."

"Our teams, and those of our airport partners, continue to work around the clock to make sure we can get our domestic and international terminal operations open safely as soon as possible," she said.

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Since Friday, the north island of New Zealand has been experiencing intense rain, flash floods, and landslides. 

Authorities in Auckland declared a state of emergency after the city received more rain in a single day than it would have in a whole summer.

Four people have now perished as a result of the confirmed death of a man who vanished after being swept away in Onewhero, a community located 70 km south of Auckland.

In response to the incident, Mayor Wayne Brown told the media that while many Aucklanders believed "the worst is behind us," it wasn't. 

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This was his "big worry" at the moment.

According to Brown, the collapse was "by far the biggest" in the history of the city and "well beyond" what the emergency services could have "planned for" or "imagined."

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Emirates flight EK448 returned because of flooding, showing how unexpected events can affect air travel.

It emphasizes the importance of safety measures in handling unforeseen challenges.