April 26, 2018

New Zealand faces airport chaos as Auckland fuel supply is cut

19 September 2017, 12:56 | Lorenzo Hawkins

NICOLE LAWTON STUFF About 27 domestic and international flights were cancelled over the weekend

About 27 domestic and international flights were cancelled over the weekend

Air New Zealand Ltd said on Monday it was forced to cancel several flights out of the city of Auckland, disrupting the journeys of about 2,000 passengers, after a fuel pipeline shutdown stopped airlines from refuelling.

The disruption comes just days before New Zealanders vote in a September 23 general election that polls show is too close to call.

Mr McNaught said Auckland Airport had been hit the hardest because it was exclusively supplied by the Marsden Point pipeline.

The pipeline is operated by Refining NZ, which said it will take days for the pipeline to be repaired due to safety precautions.

About two dozen domestic and worldwide flights out of Auckland have have been cancelled in the past 24 hours because of a jet fuel shortage.

"The refinery is still operating, meaning fuel is still being produced and shipped around the country, supplemented by fuel imports as per usual", it said.

The Whangarei-based company needs to replace a section of the pipeline between the refinery and the Wiri storage depot and will run the line at a reduced capacity, it said in a statement.

A few flights with Jetstar, the Melbourne-based low-priced airline, have been rescheduled, while there have been minimal disruptions to flights with Virgin Australia and no cancellations reported as of yet for flights with Emirates and Singapore Airlines.

"We will have additional staff in the terminals supporting passengers and addressing any questions or concerns they may have". Long haul flights departing Auckland on Monday night would also be making refuelling stops at Pacific or Australian airports.

The Government was also trying to get more tankers on the road which could deliver fuel to Auckland and this included easing regulations around hours of work or weight restrictions. "We are absolutely sorry to New Zealand and to Auckland that this is happening".

The airlines said they would contact passengers with new travel details.

Still, the transport fuels company said fuel supplies nationally were healthy and that the disruption won't "materially impact company performance".

Z Energy said that nationally, fuel supplies were healthy.

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