Air New Zealand operations disrupted by Auckland pipeline outage

Ann Santiago
September 19, 2017

Energy and resources minister Judith Collins said the biggest concern was around the lack of aviation fuel supplies, which has caused major disruption to flights.

Air New Zealand has said it is taking steps to consolidate passenger loads and minimise fuel usage in order to offset the supply issues.

Z Energy today said its airline customers are already on fuel allocations, which will mean they have to bunker fuel and refuel at other domestic and worldwide locations.

There are no cancellations for Malaysia Airlines Bhd's flights to Auckland Airport in New Zealand despite the rupture in the main pipeline carrying jet fuel there.

The airline warned there would be further disruptions to its domestic jet, regional and transtasman flights.

All airlines using Auckland Airport are now restricted on how much they can refuel.

Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ) executive director Justin Tighe-Umbers called for patience while airlines worked through the fuel shortage.

"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.

"It's been made very clear to all of those working on this that the Government will commit whatever resources and effort are required to get this sorted out as quickly as possible with a minimum disruption".

The 170km pipeline was damaged on Thursday at Ruakaka, about 8km south of the refinery, but the problem was not revealed until Sunday when flights in and out of Auckland Airport were cancelled.

Due to a fuel shortage in Auckland, oil companies are limiting the amount of fuel being supplied to airlines at Auckland Airport.

Any necessary schedule changes are being communicated to affected customers directly.

New Zealand's military had stepped in to help by offering a naval tanker and truck drivers to transport fuel and by cancelling planned military exercises with Singapore to help preserve fuel.

Refining NZ is playing down the impact of the ruptured jet fuel line between Marsden Point and Auckland, saying the country doesn't need to be embarrassed by it.

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