Passengers stuck on 'very hot' plane for hours, after Qantas flight bound for Wellington is diverted to Ohakea air base

Passengers on a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Wellington were stuck on their plane for nearly four hours after it was diverted to Ohakea air base this afternoon.

Passengers stuck on flight QF171. Source: Ryan Newington

Tracking website Flightradar24 shows QF171 diverting to the air base, over 100km's north of Wellington, and landing there around 3pm.

A woman who says she was on the flight then tweeted the following just before 4pm: "Awkward when your international flight gets diverted to an air base, and they can’t let you off the plane because there’s no customs.

"#QF171 Can’t leave plane because no customs, can’t fly plane as broken, can’t get replacement plane (easily at least) as at air base. A difficult problem to solve."

Another passenger, Ryan Newington, told 1 NEWS the plane was diverted to Ohakea air base due to a wing flap being stuck, as it has a longer runway.

He says it was very hot on the plane and customs agents had to drive up from Wellington to process the passengers.

Just before 7pm Mr Newington tweeted that the passengers were being let off the plane. He says a bus has been sent to take the passengers to Wellington.

Qantas sent 1 NEWS a statement on why the flight was diverted: "The aircraft diverted to Ohakea due to a mechanical issue where it landed safely.

"Passengers will be transported by bus to Wellington to complete their journey.

"We apologise to our customers for the disruption but safety will always be our first priority”.

The airline says the Boeing 737 plane was diverted to Ohakea air base instead of Palmerston North due to "local weather conditions".