22nd Jan 2018 | Elizabeth Sasu
All supplies of jet fuel to Auckland Airport, the largest and busiest international hub in New Zealand, have been cut following damage to a pipeline from the airport’s sole supplier of fuel.
Thousands of passengers are expected to be impacted by flight cancellations; 27 international and domestic flights have so far been affected.
The temporary shut-down to restore the fuel supply and repair the damaged the pipeline could potentially disrupt travel for the next 10 to 14 days, according to the New Zealand government. The pipeline is owned by New Zealand Refining, which is based in Marsden Point, on the east coast of New Zealand, around 87 miles from Auckland.
All airlines operating in and out of Auckland Airport, including Air New Zealand are expected to face flight disruptions.
Several Air New Zealand flights to and from Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, as well as Sydney, are expected to be cancelled tomorrow and Wednesday. The airline has said any necessary changes to flight schedules are being communicated directly to affected customers.
A few flights with Jetstar, the Melbourne-based low-cost 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. Passengers are advised to check the website of Auckland Airport or their individual carrier, for information on delays and the latest status of their flights.
Long-haul flights have been advised to refuel at other New Zealand airports or international 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.
“We will have additional staff in the terminals supporting passengers and addressing any questions or concerns they may have. We strongly recommend that any passengers travelling over the coming days plan ahead and check with their airline for the latest information,” Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said in a statement.
New Zealand ministers have been instructed to “offer all assistance that the government can” to oil companies to help restore fuel supplies, the country’s prime minister Bill English said yesterday.
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