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Unlucky: Air NZ and Korean Air Operated 13-16 Hours Flights to Nowhere

On the 16th of February 2023, Air New Zealand and Korean Air operated flights over 13 hours to nowhere following the power outage at JFK Terminal 1. As well as that, a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt diverted to Boston and a SWISS flight from Zurich diverted to Newark.

The Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 with registration ZK-NZQ was operating flight NZ2 bound for New York-JFK. Flight NZ2 departed from Auckland a 7:20 UTC time. However, it was forced to turn around after about 8 hours into the flight due to the closure of JFK Terminal 1. Due to a small fire in the terminal overnight, the power supply was disrupted in the terminal, forcing it to shut down.

“A power outage at JFK Terminal 1 is impacting the terminal’s ability to accept inbound and outbound flights. We are working to accommodate impacted flights using other terminals. Travelers, please check flight status with your airline before heading to the airport.”

JFK Airport
a map of a plane
Source: FlightRadar24

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner landed back in Auckland at around 23:30 UTC. Passengers were frustrated after their long-haul flight ended up in Auckland.

Although flights have occasionally returned to their point of origin for operational reasons, this is the first time I can remember a flight lasting 16+ hours and then being forced to do so.

Korean Air Boeing 777 Flight to Nowhere

Alongside Air New Zealand’s flight, another trans-pacific flight being operated by Korean Air also ended up at its departure airport on the same day. A Korean Air Boeing 777 returned to its origin after over five hours en route to New York.

The Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER with registration HL8041 was operating flight KE85 from Seoul but had to be diverted back to the departure airport. Flight EK85 landed back in Seoul after over 13 hours.

More Disruptions

Following the power outage at JFK Terminal 1, many long-haul flights bound for New York were forced to return to their origins or divert to alternate airports.

Besides the Air New Zealand and Korean Air flights to nowhere, Lufthansa flight LH400 from Frankfurt diverted to Boston and SWISS flight LX16 from Zurich diverted to Newark due to the closure of the terminal.

a map of the world with planes and a plane flying
Source: FlightRadar24

Furthermore, New York-JFK’s Terminal 1 will been closed for at least another day due to electrical issues. The electrical panel caught fire which is why there was a power outage at JFK.

Feature Image: FlightRadar24