An Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration ZK-NZH, diverted to Hong Kong on Thursday after a windscreen was suspected of cracking inflight while operating NZ1082 from Christchurch for Guangzhou, China.
According to the details, the Air New Zealand flight chose to divert to Hong Kong International Airport due to cracks in the windshield. As soon as the Air Traffic Control (ATC) was informed, safety operations were immediately launched and firefighters and other rescuers were also on standby on the runway.
At the time of the incident, flight NZ1082 was cruising at an altitude of 41,000 feet west of the Philippines before descending by 5,000 feet. Approaching Hong Kong airspace, the plane descended relatively quickly to an altitude of 22,000 feet and began circling over the sea south of the city.
In the meanwhile, Hong Kong ATC despatched emergency responders out to the runway. However, the aircraft landed safely on the 07R runway of Hong Kong International Airport without accidents to any person onboard. The 787-9 Dreamliner stayed at Hong Kong airport twenty-four hours after the touchdown.
Air New Zealand Leader Operational Integrity and Protection Officer Captain David Morgan said, “The day prior to this, one in every of our shipment flights certain for Guangzhou diverted to Hong Kong after the entrance windscreen cracked. Whilst a cracked windscreen sounds atypical, there are in truth 4 layers to a plane windscreen so there used to be no possibility to the plane or any person onboard.”
Flight NZ1082 was a cargo flight carrying 24 tonnes of cargo with mostly perishable food items like stone fruit and seafood destined for Chinese New Year festivities. Hong Kong International Airport offered space for refrigerated products to avoid any further losses.
“On the ground in Hong Kong, the team were fortunately able to secure chiller space for the fresh produce while we worked on a solution. After exploring trucking options as well as options with our alliance and interline partners, the team secured space with a partner airline to make sure the cargo got to where it needed to be,” Captain Morgan said.
Air New Zealand recently became the safest airline in the world. This rating is based on the past five years of operations and the past two years of severe incident records. The survey also covers audits from regulatory and industry bodies, government audits, industry-leading safety initiatives, fleet age and safety protocols from COVID-19.
Air New Zealand won the award because of its perfect safety protocols and recent record. The airline’s only blemish is the infamous 1979 crash on Ross Island in Antarctica. Subsequently, an Air New Zealand sightseeing plane DC-10 crashed near Mount Erebus, killing all 257 people on board.
That was 43 years ago and Air New Zealand has not looked back since then in terms of fatalities and major incidents. A look at Air New Zealand’s recent accident history reveals some relatively low-level issues that plague all airlines – smoke alarms, computer problems, engine problems and some lightning strikes.
This week’s broken windshield was one of the few minor incidents to happen to Air New Zealand. However, as these types of issues are common to all airlines, they have little impact on Air New Zealand’s current top-notch safety rating.
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