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New Zealand’s jet fuel crisis – when will it end?

September 22, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

As New Zealand’s jet fuel crisis continues to disrupt dozens of flights every day, Air New Zealand has taken the extraordinary step of restricting ticket sales, including halting sales of some international services.

The New Zealand Navy has been brought in to ferry fuel around the country and Auckland Airport has increased the number of aircraft allowed to use a flight path usually capped due to noise levels.

The fuel crisis began when a digger damaged the single, privately owned pipeline that conveys jet fuel from a refinery to Auckland Airport. See: Flight disruptions all week as digger cuts through line. As a result, oil companies are rationing the amount of fuel they are supplying to airlines operating out of Auckland.

The disruption has continued all week and looks set to run into the weekend. New Zealanders will vote in a general election tomorrow. (Voting is not compulsory in New Zealand, incidentally, nor in most other democracies.)

An end to the fuel crisis may be in sight. Auckland Airport says the supplier, NZ Refinery, has advised that it is on track to deliver jet fuel via the Marsden Point refinery pipeline sometime between midday Sunday 24 September and midday Tuesday 26 September. “Settling, recertification and transport to the airport for use will take another 30 hours.”

More than 120 flights have been cancelled in Auckland this week and Auckland Airport has set up a section of its website headed Temporary fuel supply disruption.

It lets travellers View list of airline contact details and check arrival and departure flight information for flight status information: Arrivals Departures.

It advises travellers to contact their airlines for information about flights and to regularly check the airport’s flight information board.

There’s also a section: Cancel or amend booking here

A day or two ago, an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200 carrying only its flight crew landed in Wellington to be refuelled.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff has said the ongoing problem could damage the repution of Auckland and of New Zealand.

Qantas issued a statement: “Fuel rationing is in effect at Auckland Airport due to a supply issue impacting all airlines. Qantas is working through what the impact will be for customers and how best to minimise it. Qantas will reach out to any impacted customers directly with options including offering alternative flights or holding in credit. Customers can also check their flight status on for the latest information.”

Virgin Australia is contacting all of its customers affected by the issue. It encourages those travelling to and from New Zealand to check the status of their flight here. Virgin said a day or two ago its operations team was working to ensure it could continue to fly out of Auckland Airport, by making refuelling stops at other airports in New Zealand.

Written by Peter Needham

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