Two Air New Zealand flights have been struck by lightning today on their way to Queenstown.

Passengers on one the of the planes reported that it shook and one said there was a smell of burning.

Both planes diverted to Christchurch for check-ups.

Air New Zealand said: "Flight NZ605 from Wellington to Queenstown and flight NZ621 from Auckland to Queenstown diverted to Christchurch after encountering lightning this afternoon.

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"Customers have been accommodated on alternative services and by road.

"The A320 aircraft are undergoing standard engineering checks in Christchurch.

"Lightning strikes are not uncommon. Aircraft are designed with this in mind and our pilots train for this scenario."

One of the passengers on NZ605 said there was a lot of turbulence and the plane quickly gained altitude.

Another passenger on the plane, Ben Taylor, of Wanaka, said: "There was a really loud bang. The whole plane shook and the skies outside the plane were brightly lit up. Afterwards, there was an acrid, burning smell for a few seconds."

Another passenger on the flight from Wellington, Jason Epps-Eades, said the head flight attendant kept spirits up as they "climbed out" and diverted to Christchurch.

"There was a loud sound and a flash of light that went through the plane, then a burnt smell for a few minutes," he said.