Fuel pipe leak disrupts flights at Auckland airport

Air New Zealand Ltd said on Monday it was forced to cancel several flights out of the city of Auckland, disrupting the journeys of about 2,000 passengers, after a fuel pipeline shutdown stopped airlines from refuelling.

The statement said fuel companies were rationing the amount of oil they supplied airlines because a leaking Auckland supply pipeline was being repaired at Marsden Point.

The supply cut followed a leak in a pipeline owned by New Zealand Refining Co Ltd.

As well as Air New Zealand, Qantas, Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd, Cathay Pacific and Emirates said on their websites that some flights had been affected.

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Long-haul flights have been advised to refuel at other New Zealand airports or worldwide airports, including in Australia and Fiji, while all flights flying into Auckland have been advised to carry enough fuel for its journey out of the hub, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Twenty-seven flights were affected over the weekend but the number was today down to 14.

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

- Auckland Airport (@AKL_Airport) September 16, 20172/2: This is impacting flights so passengers should contact their airlines or view latest flight information. The contaminated soil has been removed, the refinery said.

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The disruption is expected to last at least a week as work continues to fix the pipe, an operator said.

The shut-down is now impacting all airlines operating into and out of Auckland Airport and limiting the volume of jet fuel able to be uplifted to 30% of normal usage.

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

"BARA has long argued that supply chain constraints and lack of effective competition among jet fuel suppliers stymie industry performance and will impede ongoing growth".

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