Lengthy-haul New Zealand-China flight compelled again mid-flight

Flight NZ289 carrying about 270 passengers left Auckland shortly before midnight yesterday only to return about 10am today. — Reuters pic

After returning to Auckland, the airline texted passengers to say the flight had been rescheduled and would depart on Sunday night.

The airline said on Monday that China denied the plane landing permission due to an administrative error.

Mainland China (the People's Republic of China) refuses to have diplomatic relations with any country which recognises Taiwan (which calls itself the Republic of China) as an independent state.

A month later Stuff asked Air New Zealand whether it had received any order from the CAA of China in regards to how the airline referred to Taiwan.

Last year, for example, Qantas was pressured into changing the way it described Taiwan from a "country" to a territory' on its website.

Air New Zealand announced on February 22 a year ago that it would begin offering direct flights between Auckland and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport beginning on November 1.

"Tourism is very important to New Zealand, but so is trade and our global relationship - I think that it's very concerning that Jacinda Ardern is the first elected Prime Minister not to visit China within the first year in office since before Robert Muldoon, that in itself speaks volumes".

Dozens of passengers fumed on social media about the "serious administrative cock-up".

It is understood Flight NZ289, carrying about 270 passengers, was operated by a newer Boeing 787-9 aircraft not yet been entered in a database of planes allowed to land in China.

The flight landed back in Auckland about 10am and passengers have been offered a special service to Shanghai at 11pm tonight.

Air New Zealand apologized for the inconvenience experienced by its customers and was "deeply disappointed and frustrated by the situation", reported AP.

One posted a picture on Twitter of the onboard flight map showing the aircraft turning around over Papua New Guinea.

An Air New Zealand flight to Shanghai turned back several hours into its journey on Sunday after discovering it did not have permission to land in China, the airline said. A permitting issue, supposedly, ' the passenger commented.

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