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Thousands of air passengers stranded in New Zealand after fuel pipeline bursts

Thousands of air passengers stranded in New Zealand after fuel pipeline bursts

A shortage of aviation fuel has caused dozens of flight cancellations at New Zealand's Auckland Airport, with airlines advised to carry enough fuel for return flights after a digger apparently damaged an oil pipeline while trying to extract kauri logs.

Flights have been affected, with airlines told to fill plane tanks to capacity at other airports before flying to Auckland, and long-haul global flights told to plan for re-fueling stops in Australia and the Pacific Islands, according to Air New Zealand.

It said the fuel supply issue was unlikely to have a material impact on its fiscal-year 2018 results.

Air New Zealand Chief Operations Integrity & Standards Officer Captain David Morgan says the refueling stops completed overnight went well and the practice will continue to alleviate pressure on fuel supplies in Auckland.

The airline is also ensuring domestic jet services uplift maximum fuel limits when operating out of Wellington or Christchurch to limit refueling in Auckland.

With supply to airlines reduced to only 30 per cent of normal usage, airlines including Air New Zealand were forced to cancel flights and reroute some services to pick up fuel enroute to or from Auckland.

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Seven departures and seven arrivals were cancelled on Monday morning, according to the Auckland Airport's website.

- Auckland Airport (@AKL_Airport) September 16, 20172/2: This is impacting flights so passengers should contact their airlines or view latest flight information.

Auckland Airport says work to fix the pipe is underway, but it is not known how much longer the shortage could last.

The pipeline is operated by Refining NZ, which said it will take days for the pipeline to be repaired due to safety precautions.

"We will have additional staff in the terminals supporting passengers and addressing any questions or concerns they may have", he said. It estimates around 2000 passengers a day will be affected.

"BARA has long argued that supply chain constraints and lack of effective competition among jet fuel suppliers stymie industry performance and will impede ongoing growth".

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