A Sydney-bound Qantas flight was forced to return to New Zealand today following reports of a suspicious item on board, but the item turned out to be a standard fitting.

Fire crews and the police bomb squad were called to Auckland airport after the Boeing 737 was turned back about 90 minutes into its journey.

The plane returned to Auckland where it was parked away from other planes.

Passengers were evacuated and police investigated the suspicious item.

In a statement, police said the suspicious item "turned out to be part of the interior of the aircraft that is not normally visible".

Qantas says either cabin crew or the captain would have reported information about the suspicious package.

No details about the fitting were released.

AFP

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