Auckland flights cancelled over fuel shortage


Thousands of airline passengers were stranded in Auckland on Monday after a burst pipeline cut jet fuel supplies to New Zealand's largest airport. However, closer inspection has shown that the damaged section needs to be replaced.

While motorists aren't affected at this stage, the government has deployed a naval tanker to help with fuel distribution after opposition parties claimed there had been a failure to secure supply to the nation's busiest airport.

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

A total of 23 worldwide and domestic flights have been cancelled in the last 24 hours, Auckland Airport corporate affairs manager Simon Lambourne told Reuters.

"Early identification and containment has minimised the environmental impact of the leak", the company said in a statement.

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

Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said additional staff would be deployed to assist passengers disrupted by the fuel shortage.

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

"Airlines are working hard to minimise rescheduling and the knock-on effect this will have with travellers' connections to other flights", Tighe-Umbers said in a statment.

Qantas cancelled two flights between Sydney and Auckland on Monday, and upgraded another return service from a Boeing 737 to a Airbus A330, which can carry more passengers and more fuel.

Auckland Airport's ASX-listed shares were up 1.91 per cent to $5.88 on the news. The airline predicted about 2,000 passengers a day would be affected.

Ms Collins said she had been advised that fuel supplies were now sufficient for Auckland motorists.

Z Energy said that nationally, fuel supplies were healthy.

"Market-based reforms, including fair and reasonable access to on-airport jet fuel storage and distribution systems, are necessary to enable effective competition between suppliers and support reliability and industry resilience".