LONDON – A state of emergency has been declared, and many properties evacuated in the New Zealand North Island city of Auckland with the approach of Cyclone Gabrielle.
Almost all scheduled flights arriving and departing Auckland Airport have been cancelled on Monday, February 13 as a result.
The cyclone comes just weeks after torrential flooding hit the city, causing significant damage. Four people lost their lives previously, in what was described as unprecedented flooding.
The approach of Cyclone Gabrielle has now caused further chaos, with all domestic flights out of Auckland Airport cancelled, and large numbers of international flights affected.
Earlier today Auckland Airport broadcast via their social media channels that 85 out of 104 international flights had been cancelled. 301 domestic flights were scheduled, with all domestic operations being cancelled.
National flag carrier Air New Zealand has reportedly cancelled a total of 509 flights so far, with flights planned to resume on Tuesday as weather conditions improve.
The airline stated that approximately 29,000 passengers have been affected by over 500 flight cancellations.
Based on current weather predictions the airline says that it intends to resume domestic and international jet operations from mid-morning Tuesday 14 February, with domestic turboprop operations planned to recommence from mid-afternoon that day.
For its international customers, Air New Zealand advised their plans to utilise larger capacity aircraft and, working with Star Alliance partners, it plans to provide additional services where possible.
The approach of the cyclone from the north had already begun affecting northerly regions of the island on Sunday, after it made landfall on Friday. Auckland was anticipating 10 inches of rainfall for Monday, February 13.
With respect to the cancellations initiated by the national carrier, Australian news source News.com has quoted Air New Zealand’s chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty as saying:
“Because flights are very full, some customers may receive a notification saying they won’t depart for up to 20 days after their original booking.”
This is a continuing story. Please check back for updates.