An Air New Zealand flight to Palmerston North had to turn back this afternoon.

"Air New Zealand flight NZ5184 from Christchurch to Palmerston North returned to Christchurch this afternoon due to an engineering issue," an Air NZ spokeswoman said.

"Customers have been accommodated on an alternate service this afternoon."

According to the flight tracking site Flight Aware, the flight was delayed in Christchurch for an hour and 45 minutes before leaving the tarmac.

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It landed just after 3pm in Christchurch after turning back.

The flight was in the air for just over an hour, according to Flight Aware.