New Zealand jet fuel shortage leaves passengers stranded

Sep 19, 2017, 00:57
New Zealand jet fuel shortage leaves passengers stranded

The temporary shut-down of Refining New Zealand's pipeline into Auckland is impacting all airlines operating into and out of Auckland Airport and limiting the volume of jet fuel able to be uplifted. However, closer inspection has shown that the damaged section needs to be replaced.

The leak was found in a 170-kilometer pipeline, owned and operated by Refining NZ, which connects New Zealand's only oil refinery north of Auckland with a terminal near the city's airport.

New Zealand Refining said the damage would probably mean it would make between 10 million New Zealand dollars and NZ$15 million less revenue in its current fiscal year, with the pipeline expected to run at a reduced capacity once it's fixed.

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About 27 domestic and worldwide flights have been cancelled so far this weekend, a statement on Auckland Airport's website said.

"Aviation is a critical transport industry and the lifeblood for tourism and we are naturally extremely disappointed with this infrastructure failure", Air New Zealand chief operations integrity and standards officer Captain David Morgan said in a statement on Monday.

"Our team is now preparing for this work", the company said Monday.

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New Zealand-based Z Energy (ZEL.NZ) said it was informed of the leak in the 170-kilometer-long pipeline on Thursday afternoon.

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.

"Airlines are working hard to minimise rescheduling and the knock-on effect this will have with travellers' connections to other flights", Tighe-Umbers said in a statment. "We are absolutely sorry to New Zealand and to Auckland that this is happening". The naval tanker will assist by shipping diesel around the country so resources can be freed up to focus on Auckland Airport, she said.

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"The fuel reliability problems at both Australian and New Zealand airports directly impact passengers, freight forwarders and airlines", BARA executive director Barry Abrams said in a statement.

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