Police are still searching for the person responsible for writing the note that mentioned a bomb onboard a Qantas flight that landed in Queenstown.
A spokeswoman confirmed police were still hunting for the culprit, but said efforts had proven unsuccessful so far.
Queenstown airport was evacuated when a cleaner found the message on the flight, from Australia, just before 3pm.
However, it appears to have been a hoax, as despite an extensive search by aviation security there was no evidence of an explosive.
Teams had also searched the baggage and terminal building and were making enquires with passenger.
One person, who had been due to board a plane to Christchurch, said airport staff "moved us out very fast".
"[They] have been slowly moving us back, my guess is because of protocol but there are fire trucks on the Tarmac pointed at the plane.
"The mood is muted. Some people a quite worried but people just want to get out of the cold."
The passenger, who did not want to be named, said helicopters and other planes, including Virgin and Jetstar, have continued to leave since the note was found.
The planes that were taking off appeared to be empty.
"They are in fact planes that were ready to be boarded but weren't in the end," the passenger told the Herald.
James Grace, who works near the airport at Rent a Dent car rentals, said he had seen hundreds of people were crowded together on the carpark side of the building and around 100 more on the tarmac whom he thought had disembarked from two planes.
But it did not appear to him that the airport was closed, as he had seen two planes take off since the emergency began at around 3pm.
He had heard alarms and sirens but was unaware of the bomb message - until told by the Herald - and had thought the airport was going through some sort of fire drill.