27 Sep 2017

Long haul flights still subject to stopovers

6:10 pm on 27 September 2017

Some long haul flights will continue to stop over at international airports to refuel as the tail end of Auckland's jet fuel shortage comes to an end.

Passengers wait for their flights at Auckland Airport.

Passengers wait for their flights at Auckland Airport. Photo: 123RF

The only fuel pipeline from Marsden Point refinery to Auckland was ruptured almost two weeks ago, prompting airlines to reduce their fuel usage to 30 percent for 10 days.

Fuel industry spokesperson Andrew McNaught said the current 80 percent fuel allocation would be reviewed next week.

The area where the pipe carrying fuel into Auckland was damaged.

The area where the pipe carrying fuel into Auckland was damaged. Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

He said trucks continued to supply jet fuel from holding tanks at Wynyard Quarter to Wiri and the pipeline was pumping more jet fuel than usual to replenish stocks.

Auckland Airport chief executive Andrew Littlewood said just over 3 percent of flights had been cancelled since the pipeline supply stopped, but any disruptions from now would be minimal.

Meanwhile, caretaker minister of energy and resources Judith Collins said a new government would decide whether there would be a formal review into the pipeline leak.

She said it was unclear how much fixing the pipeline would cost and it was too early to say whether an inquiry would be held.

Refining New Zealand believes the steel pipe was damaged by a digger before it ruptured, spilling 60,000 litres of jet fuel and cutting supplies to Auckland for 10 days.

Fuel is now flowing again through the pipeline, which runs from Marsden Point to Wiri.

Northland Regional Council is investigating the spill as a potential breach of the Resource Management Act.

Its regulatory manager Colin Dall said council staff had been trying to track down the landowner.

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