Fuel pipe leak disrupts flights at Auckland airport

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins visiting Refining NZ in June

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins visiting Refining NZ in June

Air New Zealand has been forced to cancel flights and reroute its long-haul operations after a damaged pipeline led to severe fuel shortages at Auckland Airport over the weekend.

Seven departures and seven arrivals were cancelled on Monday morning, according to the Auckland Airport's website.

News of the damaged pipeline, which connects a refinery to the Wiri Oil Services facility near the airport, first emerged on Sunday, when Auckland Airport announced on Twitter there were fuel shortages. The damaged section needs to be replaced and it will take until early next week to reopen the pipeline plus another few days of testing before fuel can be delivered to the airport, the company said.

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. Contaminated soil had been taken to refinery for treatment.

The company said it had never experienced a pipeline leak before.

A few flights with Jetstar, the Melbourne-based low-priced airline, have been rescheduled, while there have been minimal disruptions to flights with Virgin Australia and no cancellations reported as of yet for flights with Emirates and Singapore Airlines.

About two dozen flights out of Auckland have been cancelled due to the jet fuel shortage.

Jacinda Ardern says businesses and travelers have been

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.

Qantas and Jetstar said they were working to minimise impact on customers and urged people to check their flight status online.

The airlines said they would contact passengers with new travel details.

BARNZ represents 28 worldwide airlines flying into and out of New Zealand.

Based on information available at this stage, Air New Zealand believes the fuel supply issue is unlikely to have a material impact on the FY18 annual result.

It has raised questions about fuel supply security for the country's biggest city and Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett admitted it was embarrassing.

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