26 Jul 2009

Qantas flight grounded in Auckland

2:04 pm on 26 July 2009

A Qantas 737 has been grounded in New Zealand while engineers investigate the cause of a malfunction on a flight to Brisbane on Saturday morning.

The Boeing 737 was forced to return to Auckland airport with 91 passengers onboard after the plane started to depressurise.

Qantas says the jet lost cabin pressure at 25,000 feet, forcing the captain to turn the plane around shortly after take-off.

The airline is playing down the incident, saying the malfunction was not an emergency.

Qantas says there was never a threat to passengers or the crew because the depressurisation was so small it was not necessary to supply oxygen masks.

The ABC reports the plane made it safely back to Auckland and the passengers were transferred to a different flight.

The jet remains grounded while Qantas engineers investigate the cause and make repairs.