An Air New Zealand 747-400 aircraft (ZK-NBS) with 358 passengers on board, bound for Los Angeles, returned to London Heathrow an hour into the flight after the flight crew shut down one of its four engines.
The aircraft had departed London at 0230 (NZ time) and returned to Heathrow at 0430 (NZ time).
The crew reported a number of loud bangs from engine number three and excessive engine temperatures. As is normal procedure engine number three was shut down. The captain decided to return to London for an early landing which meant the dumping of fuel. The aircraft landed without incident.
A small number of passengers were able to be accommodated on a Singapore Airlines flight which left later in the evening (UK time) but the majority are being accommodated at airport hotels.
A replacement engine has been sourced for an early return to service, and the aircraft is expected to return to service at 1100 (NZ time) tomorrow.
Meanwhile, another Air New Zealand 747-400 has left Auckland bound for Los Angeles where it will uplift the approximately 200 passengers due to board NZ1 at Los Angeles. It will depart Los Angeles 1830 (NZ Time) bound for Auckland - a delay of about eight hours.
No flights out of New Zealand have been disrupted.
ZK-NBS is the same aircraft that lost a section of flap on take-off from Auckland recently. There were no prior indications of problems with the engine before the event and shut-down of that engine.
The four engines on ZK-NBS are manufactured by Rolls Royce.