Fuel supply cut to Auckland Airport

17 September 2017 6:11 AM

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Flights at Auckland Airport are being affected by a jet fuel shortage after someone digging up a kauri log in Northland caused a leak in the jet fuel pipeline.

New Zealand's busiest airport faces up to two weeks of flight disruption after someone digging up a kauri log damaged the only jet fuel pipeline between Northland's Marsden Point refinery and Auckland.

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.

The Northern Advocate newspaper is carrying a supplied photo of a kauri log lifted from a farm at Ruakaka, where the pipeline was cut.

Refining NZ chief executive Sjoerd Post told Newshub a digger had scraped over it, and it will take 10 to 15 days to fix.

The pipeline also supplies petrol and diesel to Auckland, but motorists won't feel the impact over the next few days, Mobil Oil said.

Tankers will be able to truck petrol and diesel to the city from Marsden Point and ports, but the pipeline was Auckland Airport's sole source of jet fuel.

"Airlines operating at Auckland Airport have had their usual fuel allocations reduced. We appreciate this will be inconvenient and will require airlines to take alternative fuelling measures," spokesman Andrew McNaught said.

About 27 domestic and international flights were cancelled over the weekend.

Chief executive Adrian Littlewood said the airport was working closely with airlines and others, trying to focus on helping passengers.

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

Aircraft will also be filling up in Wellington and Christchurch but some long-haul services to and from Asia and North America will have to stop and refuel at Pacific or Australian airports.

"It's my understanding it's the sort of problem that will require government agencies and companies to work together," Prime Minister Bill English said.

About 70,000 litres of fuel leaked from the damaged pipe. The contaminated soil has been removed, the refinery said.

Also read: Fuel shortage prompts flight cancellations at Auckland Airport

Source: home.nzcity.co.nz

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