24 Dec 2012

Dreaming of a flight for Christmas....

11:16 pm on 24 December 2012

Thick fog similar to that which wreaked havoc on travel plans in Wellington on Monday has begun to descend on Christchurch.

The weather delayed dozens of flights through Wellington airport yesterday, with extra flights today to move some of the stranded passengers.

The MetService initially signalled the fog might return to the capital on Monday night, but later said that was less likely. At 10pm, staff at Christchurch airport said there was no sign of fog interrupting flights.

Duty forecaster Allister Gorman says the fog has spread mainly to the Cook Strait area and is now beginning to move onto the Christchurch coast.

"Christchurch Airport is now getting low cloud, and could go to fog tonight," Mr Gorman said on Christmas Eve.

"Unfortunately, the problem's moved from one airport to another.

"The one good thing that Christchurch has over Wellington is that with fewer hills around, they can operate in poorer conditions".

Mr Gorman says the fog is likely to get worse in Christchurch overnight, to a point at which it may begin to affect flights.

The thick fog delayed dozens of flights through Wellington airport on Sunday and Monday but it Jetstar and Air New Zealand resumed flights as it cleared.

Travellers such as Brazilian tourist, Paulo Pargher were left in disarray.

Mr Pargher's journey had already been disrupted when he lost his his passport in Queenstown, and he went to Wellington to get a new passport from the Brazilian Embassy.

The MetService says the fog initially gathered in the Cook Strait area and along the Wairarapa coast.

Then the moist air that fueled the fog bank began spreading toward Christchurch and could reach there before Christmas Day.

Jetstar and Air New Zealand warned passengers to keep a close eye on their websites for delays and cancellations.