New Zealand’s largest city Auckland has this past week been hit by flooding. As a result, Auckland Airport has been submerged by flood water and has seen significant damage to the airport grounds and facilities. Terminals turned into local pools rather than a spot people will depart for holidays.
This has meant that aircraft destined for the city were turned around and headed back to their origin airport or, in some cases, diverted to the closest airport. In Emirates’ case, they operate an Airbus A380 from Dubai to Auckland. It’s among on of the longest flights in the world. However, this flight has made headlines following a 14-hour journey to nowhere.
EK488 departed Dubai on Friday, the 27th of January, at 11:00 am local time. However, as it reached the halfway point of its over 15-hour journey, it turned back. Heading directly back to Dubai, the city it had departed from 7 hours earlier.
Extensive damage has impacted the city of Auckland, leaving people dead, injured, and without homes. On top of that, flood waters have reached Auckland Airport. It has meant that airlines looking to fly into the airport must make crucial decisions on whether to avoid the city for the moment. Airlines that were still flying in or out were experiencing heavy delays. This was short-lived when the airport decided to suspend departures due to the flooding and damage to airport grounds.
For passengers onboard their EK488, a 14-hour flight to nowhere is one for the record books. However, it was in the interest of the safety of the crew and passengers. The airline said that continuing to another Australian or New Zealand city was not a logical option. At that point, returning to Dubai was the only feasible decision the crew could make onboard the world’s largest passenger flight.