Five flights were delayed this evening after a drone was spotted near Auckland Airport.

An Airways spokeswoman said the pilot of a Dash 8 aeroplane spotted a drone flying at 700m about 12km from the airport over the Ormiston area at 6.07pm.

He reported it to air traffic control and his course was deviated to avoid the drone.

The airspace was not closed but it caused delays to about five flights over half an hour, she said.

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Flights were operating as normal again half an hour after it was reported.

The incident has been reported to the police.