The flight was rescheduled to leave more than an hour late at 8.50pm, but was then cancelled after the runway at Auckland International runway was strewn with debris caused by severe storm conditions.
“Due to crewing reasons our 7.40pm departure from Auckland to Rarotonga was rescheduled to 8.50pm,” said Jetstar spokesman Phil Boeyen.
“The flight was boarded to depart at the rescheduled time but was unable to operate as the Auckland runway was closed for a number of hours.
“There were 156 passengers on board. We are rebooking them on alternative services.”
One passenger on the Jetstar aircraft who had been returning to Rarotonga with his young family, told CINews that following the cancellation of the flight, they had been rebooked on to another Jetstar flight that wouldn’t be arriving until the early hours of Thursday morning.
Media reports in New Zealand said all air operations had been halted at Auckland Airport about 9pm on Monday (CI time). Airways spokeswoman Emily Davies said eight flights had been diverted.
I understand they’ve halted operations and they’ll be holding aircraft for a while,” she said.
“It’s up to the pilot whether they choose to divert or choose to hold, until the weather clears to a point where it’s safe to land.”
Davies said 60 knot wind gusts – about 110kmh, had been recorded on the runway.
“That’s very, very strong winds.”
An Air New Zealand Airbus flight to Rarotonga made a successful departure at 8.27pm (NZ time) and landed at Rarotonga International Airport at 2.27am, just over an hour later than originally scheduled.
New Zealand has been hit by massive storms over the last few days, bringing chilly temperatures and causing widespread damage across the country. More bad weather was predicted to strike last night.