On 15 February, a brand new Air New Zealand Airbus A321neo (ZK-NND) turned back over Eastern Turkey nearly 4 hours into its delivery flight. The aircraft safely landed back at the Hamburg Finkenwerder factory, where it left around 8 hours ago. A specific reason for the return wasn’t mentioned until today. NZ Herald reports that the aircraft was forced to head back to Hamburg after clearance to fly over Iran didn’t came through as expected.
This paperwork issue comes only 10 days after an Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 (ZK-NZQ) was forced to return to Auckland as the aircraft didn’t have the necessary permission to land in China. Air New Zealand says because of a tight schedule the aircraft left Hamburg before clearance paperwork had been received to overfly Iran.
“We had received assurances by our delivery flight planning agent that the Iranian clearance paperwork would come through during the flight. Unfortunately this was not received in time and the decision was made to return to Hamburg,” a spokeswoman said.
Two days ago (18 February), the issue was solved. The Airbus A321neo overflew Iran and safely landed in Muscat, Oman then onto Kuala Lumpur, Cairns and finally Auckland, New Zealand. In total, Air New Zealand will acquire 20 A320neo Family aircraft.