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Fuel shortage hits flights at Auckland Airport

17 September 2017 12:56 AM
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A fuel shortage in Auckland has resulted in international flights being rerouted through Christchurch to fill up tanks.

The Herald has learned that some flights scheduled to leave from Auckland International Airport will leave on schedule, but will head south first to fuel up before getting on their scheduled route.

A passenger due to fly to Dubai from Auckland later today received a text message at 1.32am saying "due to a shortage of fuel at Auckland International Airport, your flight will operate from Auckland to Dubai via Christchurch".

"The flight will depart on schedule and will stop en route for refuelling," the text read.

"Have you ever heard of anything so bizarre as an international airport running out of fuel?", the passenger, who did not want to be named, said.

Auckland International Airport spokesman Simon Lambourne confirmed there was a shortage in fuel on site - but it was not limited to the airport.

"I can confirm the oil companies are limiting the amount of fuel they are supplying to the airport," he said.

Lambourne said passengers scheduled to fly today should check their travel details or contact their airline for more information.

He could not confirm whether all flights would stop in at Christchurch or be rerouted to other centres to fuel up.

Refining NZ spokesman Greg McNeill said the issue began on Thursday when a leak was spotted in the pipeline that supplies aviation fuel from Marsden Point to Wiri, South Auckland, near the airport.

The 170km pipeline is constantly monitored and on Thursday a drop in pressure was noticed.

A helicopter was put up to survey the pipeline and the leak was identified on farmland at Ruakaka, about 8km from the Marsden Point refinery.

A crew is now excavating around the leak to ascertain what has happened and how to resolve the issue.

A couple who live 100 metres from the site were evacuated on Thursday and are staying in a motel.

McNeill said it was unclear how long it could take to fix the problem.

He said there were stocks of fuel around the country owned by oil companies such as Mobil, and it was up to them to decide how and where they were used.

Marsden Point was still producing fuel and the companies could still access it. At this stage, it was only the aviation fuel supply that was affected.


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