Air New Zealand says plane that was forced to turn back may have hit runway light

An Air New Zealand flight that was forced to turn back last night is thought to have hit a runway light, the airline confirmed today.

Air New Zealand plane (file picture). Source:

An Air New Zealand spokesperson said yesterday that flight NZ5759 to Dunedin was forced to return to Christchurch "as a precaution".

But today Air New Zealand spokeswoman Hannah Searle said the tyre may have made contact with a runway light.

"Our initial investigation has found scuff marks on one of the aircraft’s tyres. This suggests the tyre may have made contact with a runway light," she said.

The aircraft was checked after returning and went back into service this morning.

"The safety of customers and crew is paramount and non-negotiable which is why the pilots elected to return to Christchurch, so the aircraft could be inspected immediately by engineers," said Ms Searle.

Passengers on the flight have been given new flights today, and those who required accommodation were provided hotel rooms, she said.