Fuel Shortage Prompts Flight Cancellations at Auckland Airport

The oil pipeline from Marsden Point burst on Thursday after it had been previously damaged by a digger trying to extract kauri logs near Ruakaka.

Refining New Zealand, which owns the Marsden Point fuel refinery, has advised Auckland Airport that it is working on repairing a section of its damaged fuel pipeline which connects the refinery in Marsden Point to Wiri Oil Services Limited in Auckland, which in turns supplies airlines with aviation fuel at the airport.

The Government has offered to help oil companies struggling with an aviation fuel crisis that threatens to disrupt air travel out of Auckland for up to two weeks.

Oil companies are responsible for transporting, storing and supplying fuel for use by airlines at the airport, and as a result of the pipeline damage, the oil companies are currently rationing the amount of fuel they are supplying to airlines.

Auckland Airport Chief Executive Mr. Littlewood says the airport is working closely with airlines and other airport stakeholders, including the Board of Airlines Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ), to monitor the impact of the temporary disruption on airlines and their operations with a particular focus on helping passengers manage through this period of disruption.

“We will have additional staff in the terminals supporting passengers and addressing any questions or concerns they may have. We strongly recommend that any passengers traveling over the coming days plan ahead and check with their airline for the latest information.”

The shut-down is currently impacting all airlines operating into and out of Auckland Airport and limiting the volume of jet fuel able to be uplifted to 30% of normal usage.

Air New Zealand Chief Operations Integrity & Standards Officer Captain David Morgan says the refueling stops completed overnight went well and the practice will continue to alleviate pressure on fuel supplies in Auckland.

“Aviation is a critical transport industry and the lifeblood for tourism and we are naturally extremely disappointed with this infrastructure failure,” Captain Morgan says. “We are continuing to do everything we can to respond to this infrastructure challenge and further disruption is likely as we move through the rest of this week. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience caused and continue to ask for their patience.”

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