Jet fuel shortage causing flight cancellations at Auckland Airport

Gladys Abbott
September 19, 2017

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.

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

The fuel shortage was caused after an oil pipeline running from Marsden Point was damaged in Ruakaka, Northland on Thursday. A full list of flight cancellations is available on the Air New Zealand Travel Alerts page and will be updated regularly. So far, three of the airline's North America services have made stops in Nadi, Fiji to refuel, and today flight NZ99 from Auckland to Tokyo Narita Airport will make a stopover in Brisbane in order to refuel.

The following flights taking place on Monday, September 18 have been cancelled.

New Zealand Refining said the damage would probably mean it would make between 10 million New Zealand dollars and NZ$15 million less revenue in its current fiscal year, with the pipeline expected to run at a reduced capacity once it's fixed.

"The company expected that the fix could be effected within two days by installing a clamp on the damaged section of the pipe", it said in a statement.

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"The fuel reliability problems at both Australian and New Zealand airports directly impact passengers, freight forwarders and airlines", BARA executive director Barry Abrams said in a statement. Contaminated soil had been taken to refinery for treatment.

"It's a private company that owns it and you would expect them to have better contingency plans", she told Radio New Zealand.

"We will have additional staff in the terminals supporting passengers and addressing any questions or concerns they may have", he said in a statement.

The government has offered to "work with" airlines hampered by the shortage of jet fuel.

"BARA has long argued that supply chain constraints and lack of effective competition among jet fuel suppliers stymie industry performance and will impede ongoing growth".

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