But the passengers had to stay onboard for five hours on the tarmac!
GM in Auckland Mike Ma said there was no alternative but to keep the passengers on board at Christchurch. The plane needed to be ready to fly at a moment's notice if the fog lifted, and there would have been a longer delay if the passengers had disembarked. There is also no agreement between the airline and Christchurch terminal to have workers bring the passengers into the terminal.
Passengers were given water after about 90 minutes on the ground, but China Southern was unable to provide food because the terminal did not have the ability to provide enough meals within a short period. (Jeez, Mr.Ma, if you can't arrange a special local delivery of stir-fried rice in 5hrs., there's something wrong with your organisational skills!)
Christchurch Airport says when an international flight is diverted, a number of different companies and agencies are involved in decisions around the aircraft and its passengers: "In this case, the airport company was not involved in any decisions about the plane's passengers."
The flight finally landed in Auckland more than six hours later at 12.46pm.