Emergency at Melbourne airport as Air NZ pilot sends mayday

AN AIR NZ A320 has made an emergency landing at Melbourne Airport after experiencing engine trouble shortly after takeoff.

A pilot on board Flight NZ726, which had 145 passengers and six crew on board, made a mayday call soon after taking off for Auckland just before 8pm last night.

Emergency services, including eight fire engines and police, rushed to the airport but the flight landed without incident.

Kiwi comedian Jeremy Elwood was on board and tweeted soon after it landed.

"In all my years of flying, I just had my first turnaround due to engine failure. Hello again, Melbourne!"

When asked on Twitter what the engine failure sounded like and whether the passengers could hear it, Elwood said: "Nope, all very calm. Plane just turned around. Fire engines waiting for us when we landed but no fire."

Air NZ spokesman Andrew Aitken said engineers were still investigating the nature of the fault but reports of a fuel leak were incorrect.

Melbourne Airport spokeswoman Anna Gillett said the captain's mayday call was standard practice in such a situation and the incident was all over within 30 minutes.