LONDON – New Zealand’s Auckland International Airport has been forced to close today due to severe torrential flooding. A state of emergency has been declared for the North Island city of Auckland, and mass evacuations are now taking place.
According to the Australian national broadcaster ABC News, Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has issued a statement on Friday night New Zealand time, saying:
“This declaration reflects the extent of damage, displacement and disruption caused by this evening’s severe weather event and enables emergency services and response agencies to draw on resources, and enact additional powers, to assist affected Aucklanders.”
Auckland Airport flooding
Footage has emerged of severe flooding at Auckland airport, with airport management issuing the following statement via its social media channels in the past hour:
“Auckland Airport terminals and roading are currently impacted by widespread flooding. We are requesting people do not travel to the international terminal at this time.”
The airport closure has resulted in multiple flights into Auckland being cancelled or delayed.
Air New Zealand incident
The news of the airport closure follows closely on the heels of an incident involving an Air New Zealand Boeing 777 which experienced a runway excursion on landing, which resulted in damage to runway edge lighting.
Air New Zealand flight NZ124, operated by a Boeing 777 – 300 registered ZK-OZN inbound from Melbourne Australia to Auckland apparently drifted to the side of the runway on landing, causing damage to several of the runway edge lights.
The airport had suffered a temporary closure as a result of the lighting damage.
UPDATE 28 January 0500 UTC
Auckland Airport domestic terminal re-opened at 12.00pm local time, however the international terminal remains closed to traffic, and will not reopen for departures until 5.00pm local. International arrivals are scheduled to recommence on Sunday 4.30am local.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.