Nearly five hours into Air New Zealand’s flight NZ289 between Auckland and Shanghai on Saturday (9 February), passengers heard a rather unpleasant message from the captain: the aircraft, a 5-month-old Boeing 787-9 (ZK-NZQ) didn’t have the necessary permission to land in China. The crew could only head back to New Zealand.
The airline regrets the incident and said that the issue lies into regulatory approval to land in China. Passengers were rebooked onto the next Air New Zealand flight on Sunday.
China’s permits process is complex and relatively expensive, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), all new aircraft must be registered with the authorities before flying in, out or through China. The process takes a minimum of five working days but can take several weeks.
It’s not a common sort of mistake, but I’m not entirely surprised. My previous employer operated 25 aircraft and had a staff of 16 people dedicated solely to these types of permitting tasks. It’s a big and often overwhelming job.
— Andrew Poure (@apoure25) February 9, 2019