It returned to Auckland immediately, landed at 2.52pm without further incident and taxied to the gate.

The incident occurred just after takeoff at 1800 feet, with bird strike a possibility, and the Captain elected to shut down the left hand engine. The Captain briefed the 206 passengers onboard, including explaining that any flame seen from the engine is not unusual when it is shut down in flight.

Affected passengers are being accommodated in hotels until a replacement aircraft is available for a departure later this evening.

There is no visible damage to the engine, with engineers to begin an immediate inspection.

Ends

Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs ph +64 21 747 320