A flight from Auckland to Chile has turned around only an hour into the 11-hour journey, due to a "passenger issue".

The LATAM flight left Auckland airport about 6.30pm bound for Santiago, Chile. Instead it turned back, and arrived back in Auckland about 9.30pm.

Airways spokeswoman Emma Lee confirmed the flight had returned to Auckland. Both Air Traffic Control and police had been notified, she said.

"The pilot notified Air Traffic Control that it was returning to Auckland, around an hour into the flight," she said.


Lee said the issue was related to a passenger.

There was no issue with the plane, she said.

A LATAM spokesperson said a "disruptive passenger" forced the plane to return.

"The decision was made in line with established operational and safety protocols, designed to safeguard passenger welfare."

The aircraft arrived safely in Auckland and was "greeted by local authorities" to escort the passenger off.

"No harm was met by passengers or crew," the spokesperson said.

LATAM apologised for the inconvenience caused to other passengers on the flight. They were provided with hotel accommodation and a replacement flight.