Jet fuel shortage at Auckland Airport


The leak at the Marsden Point Oil Refinery near Ruakaka caused at least 27 domestic and worldwide flights to be cancelled at Auckland Airport yesterday.

Thousands of passengers have been left in the lurch after a jet fuel shortage grounded dozens of domestic and global flights at Auckland Airport.

Oil companies have been forced to ration fuel after a leak in a supply pipeline from Marsden Point was damaged by a digger operating on a farm.

Aircraft will also be filling up in Wellington and Christchurch but some long-haul services to and from Asia and North America will have to stop and refuel at Pacific or Australian airports.

The supply to Auckland Airport has been cut and airlines have been told to find somewhere else to fill up their planes.

Qantas and Jetstar said in an emailed statement that they were working to minimise impact on customers and urged people to check their flight status online.Auckland Airport is New Zealand's largest global airport with passenger numbers of around 18 million a year.

Any necessary schedule changes will be communicated to affected customers directly.

Air New Zealand said it was cancelling some domestic and trans-Tasman flights to consolidate passenger loads.

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"It's frustrating and plus if some of the airlines don't give you accommodation then you have to pay for it and not everybody can afford it", she said.

With the Northland pipeline estimated to take another 10 days to fix, further flight delays are expected.

"It's my understanding it's the sort of problem that will require government agencies and companies to work together", Prime Minister Bill English said.

Tankers will be able to truck petrol and diesel to the city from Marsden Point and ports, but the pipeline was Auckland Airport's sole source of jet fuel.

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Air New Zealand is working through the implications for its operations over coming days and is putting a range of measures in place.

Passengers have been warned of further delays and cancellations of flights at Auckland Airport after a fuel leak in Northland.

An airport spokesperson said oil companies were limiting the fuel to airlines.