Police called as Air NZ pilot stood down over Queenstown security incident

by Kim Bowden - Nov 22, 2023

A pilot set to fly from Queenstown to Auckland last Saturday was at the centre of an incident involving police during a security screening before being taken off duty.

Passengers heading north on an early morning Air New Zealand flight were delayed by more than an hour and a half due to the situation.

Crux has been told by multiple credible sources the pilot failed to cooperate and became unruly with security staff.

Police were then called in to deal with the situation.

Queenstown Airport itself is remaining tight-lipped on exactly what played out, with a spokesperson telling Crux they are unable to comment on any alleged incident taking place during security screening.

They directed Crux questions to the airline and the Civil Aviation Authority, which manages aviation security.

When approached by Crux, Air New Zealand echoed the airport's stance, saying it was inappropriate for the airline to comment on "matters of security".

However, the airline's chief flight operations and safety officer Captain David Morgan did provide the following comment:

“NZ638 from Queenstown to Auckland was delayed 1 hour 39 mins due to a change of crew being required.”

The Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed police were called on Saturday to respond to a situation that took place at a security screening point at the airport.

"As per standard procedure AvSec (Aviation Security) personnel called police who are dealing with the matter.

"There was no risk to the public as a result of this incident and no further action is required.

"To protect the privacy of the individual involved, no further details will be provided."

A police spokesperson says "police initially provided assistance to deescalate a situation following a report from AvSec of a man behaving inappropriately during security screening".

Police say they are not investigating further.



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