An Air New Zealand flight was delayed after a passenger had a gun in their checked baggage.
An Auckland Airport spokeswoman said the gun was not taken onto the plane as some reports had suggested.
She said the firearm was in the passenger’s checked-in baggage.
The flight from Auckland to Christchurch was delayed by 30 minutes.
FlightStats said the NZ 547 flight was due to depart at 2pm on Thursday but left at 2.30pm. It arrived in Christchurch at 4.01pm.
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the flight was delayed after Aviation Security requested a passenger’s checked bag be removed from the baggage hold.
At no point did anyone attempt to board the flight carrying a firearm, the spokeswoman said.
The passenger who owned the bag had already boarded the flight and was “completely compliant” when asked to disembark, she said.
“They have been re-booked to continue their journey on a later flight.”
Aviation Security said procedures identified a firearm in a bag in the hold of the flight bound for Christchurch.
“Precautionary checks were carried out and determined that the firearm was being lawfully transported,” a spokesman said.
“The firearm was not in the cabin and there was no risk to passengers.
“While Avsec regrets the inconvenience to passengers, public safety is its number one priority.”
After landing in Christchurch, passenger Max Tweedie said the pilot informed everyone on the plane that a person had a rifle in their checked-in baggage.
Tweedie said an Air New Zealand ground staff member boarded the plane and asked six people to disembark – one of whom had the rifle in their baggage.
The delay resulted as all six people needed to have their baggage taken off of the plane, he said.
Passengers were told the person’s bag had not been checked in following the correct protocols, he added.
Tweedie said the pilot told passengers that in light of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, all precautions were being taken.
However, passenger Colleen Blitvich said Air New Zealand staff made no mention of a firearm when advising them of a delay.
“They said a passenger decided not to board the plane and that they needed to get their luggage off. Everybody was unaware of what was going on.”
What are the rules around transporting firearms on planes?
Customer information on the Air New Zealand website shows it does allow passengers to carry firearms as checked-in baggage – but there are a number of conditions.
These include telling the airline of your intention to bring a firearm when the ticket is booked.
The firearm must also be in a lockable firearms case, with ammunition in a separate bag.
Some destinations may not allow the firearms to be taken there, the website says.
When asked whether the rules around transporting firearms on Air New Zealand flights could change in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, the spokeswoman said the rules around prohibited items were determined by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Source : Stuff NZ
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