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Fuel shortage prompts flight cancellations at Auckland Airport

17 September 2017

"Airlines operating at Auckland Airport have had their usual fuel allocations reduced".

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

Auckland Airport is New Zealand's largest global airport and handles more than 18.5 million passengers a year.

Several long-haul services to and from Asia and North America would make refuelling stops at selected Pacific or Australian airports, it said.

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Airlines asked to to carry enough fuel for return flights amid shortage at Auckland Airport

About 70,000 litres of fuel leaked from the damaged pipe.

Frustrated passengers at the departure terminal yesterday said there was a lot of initial confusion about the cancelled flights.

The supply to Auckland Airport has been cut and airlines have been told to find somewhere else to fill up their planes. They will keep their customers informed of any changes to flight schedules, as required.

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

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"I have spoken to Sjoerd Post, chief executive of Refining NZ, which owns the pipeline, as well as Mobil, BP and Z Energy, which all use the pipeline to supply fuel to Auckland".

Prime Minister Bill English told reporters he had instructed ministers to work closely with the companies and offer Government assistance.

"The pipeline is the only source of jet fuel for Auckland Airport, so precautions have been taken to restrict the amount of fuel being used".

Jordana Saccomani, who is going back to Melbourne, said she hoped the leak was fixed soon.

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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.

The 170km pipeline was damaged on Thursday at Ruakaka, about 8km south of the refinery, but the problem was not revealed until Sunday when flights in and out of Auckland Airport were cancelled.

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

It encouraged people who thought their flights might be affected to check the status online.

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Fuel shortage prompts flight cancellations at Auckland Airport