Air New Zealand cancellations to affect 2000 travellers today

Ivan Schwartz
September 19, 2017

Thousands of airline passengers were stranded in Auckland Monday after a pipeline leak cut jet fuel supplies to New Zealand's largest airport, forcing planes to remain grounded, authorities said.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand-A leak in a pipeline from a refinery that services New Zealand's busiest airport and is causing delays and flight cancellations is worse than expected.

Mr McNaught said airlines would have to carry more fuel to enable return flights without refuelling and stop to fuel at other airports on the way to and from Auckland.

With supply to airlines reduced to only 30 per cent of normal usage, airlines including Air New Zealand were forced to cancel flights and reroute some services to pick up fuel enroute to or from Auckland. Auckland airport shares were last at $6.31 having gained 1 percent this year and Air New Zealand stock closed at $3.25 having climbed 48 percent this year.

"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.

Normally direct flights from the United States and Asia will stop at airports in Australia and the Pacific to refuel.

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Mr English said he did not have details about what impact the shortage could have.

"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 pipeline operator, Refining NZ, said repairs would take at least a week, possibly two, raising the prospect of ongoing major disruption.

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

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.

"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".

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