Firearm found in baggage hold of Air NZ jet causes flight delay

A passenger who failed to properly check in a firearm on an Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Christchurch caused a travel delay today, according to authorities.       

The incident occurred at about 2pm, when a passenger's bag had to be removed from the baggage hold.    

Airport staff escorted a passenger off flight NZ574 while the other passengers in the plane waited about half an hour to disembark.

"Security procedures identified a firearm in a bag in the hold of an aircraft on a flight bound for Christchurch," said Mike Richards of Civil
Aviation Authority.      

"Precautionary checks were carried out and determined that the firearm was being lawfully transported."

Another passenger on the plane, Max Tweedie, said a man was escorted away by a member of airport ground crew.    

He said he had heard that the man used self-check in, which is why normal procedures weren't followed.

Air New Zealand released a statement this afternoon saying that "the passenger who owns the bag had already boarded and was completely compliant when asked to disembark. They have been re-booked to continue their journey on a later flight."