New Zealand jet fuel shortage leaves passengers stranded

Air New Zealand said on Monday it was experiencing disruption in operations because of an outage in Refining New Zealand's pipeline to Auckland.

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

Still, the transport fuels company said fuel supplies nationally were healthy and that the disruption won't "materially impact company performance".

The temporary shut-down to restore the fuel supply and fix the damaged the pipeline could potentially disrupt travel for the next 10 to 14 days, according to the New Zealand government.

Seven Air New Zealand flights have been cancelled for Monday.

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

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 global locations.

Mr McNaught said Auckland Airport had been hit the hardest because it was exclusively supplied by the Marsden Point pipeline.

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Fuel supplies have been rationed and airlines are looking to refuel in Australia and elsewhere to keep long-haul services running.

Refining NZ which owns the pipeline said it could take 10 to 15 days to fix.

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

Collins wanted to reassure passengers who had their travel plans disrupted that they were doing everything they could to get the pipeline fixed, but expected it would take at least a week.

It said airlines would have to find different fuelling methods, including planes carrying more fuel to enable return flights and refuelling at other airports.

The Whangarei-based company needs to replace a section of the pipeline between the refinery and the Wiri storage depot and will run the line at a reduced capacity, it said in a statement. Contaminated soil had been taken to refinery for treatment.

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


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