Auckland flights face disruptions from fuel shortage

Flights to and from Auckland International Airport are facing several days of disruption after the sole pipeline supplying the airport with aviation fuel began leaking.

International flights are being diverted to pick up fuel and some services have been cancelled as a result of the break in the Refining New Zealand pipeline between a refinery and the airport.

“Due to fuel shortage in Auckland, oil companies are limiting the amount of fuel being supplied to airlines at Auckland airport,’’ Auckland airport said in a tweet Sunday.

Air New Zealand said it was working through the implications for its operations in coming days.

Measures put in place include cancelling some domestic and trans-Tasman services to consolidate passenger loads and ensuring planes were flying with the maximum amount of uel out of Wellington and Christchurch.

The airline is also requiring some long-haul services to and from Asia and North America to make refuelling stops at Pacific or Australian airports.

“Unfortunately, this is an industry-wide issue caused by the physical failure of an essential fuel pipeline,’’ AirNZ chief operations & integrity standards officer David Morgan said.

“We are doing all we can to minimise the impact on our operations and on our customers, however, we do ask for patience and understanding at this time.  We thank our customers in advance for their cooperation.”

New Zealand media reported that about 20 flights had been cancelled Sunday and said the pipeline had been out of action since Thursday. One report said the pipeline had been damaged by a digging machine.

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English told reporters in Auckland he had instructed government ministers to work as closely as possible with oil companies and to offer any assistance they may need.

The New Zealand Herald quoted oil company executives as saying the pipeline was likely to be shut down for several days, with one saying it could be 10 to 14 days.


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