NZ Jet Fuel Crisis Hits Air NZ, May Affect Some Fiji Airways Flights

  Fiji Airways warns disruptions to its flights because of the fuel crisis at Auckland airport, New Zealand. Some Air New Zealand flights have diverted to Nadi to refuel because
20 Sep 2017 11:24
NZ Jet Fuel Crisis Hits Air NZ, May Affect Some Fiji Airways Flights


Fiji Airways warns disruptions to its flights because of the fuel crisis at Auckland airport, New Zealand.

Some Air New Zealand flights have diverted to Nadi to refuel because of the problem.

Fiji Airways said guests travelling to and from Auckland may experience disruptions and delays to their flight due to restrictions on jet fuel supply at Auckland Airport.

An enforced shortage on fuel supply to airlines operating out of Auckland means Fiji Airways may have to divert aircraft to other airports to pick up fuel, combine or even cancel flights.

Executive general manager, Fiji Link and Group Corporate, International and Government Affairs, Shaenaz Voss said: “This is a challenging issue not just for Fiji Airways but all other airlines operating to/from Auckland. Restricted supply means we only receive a percentage of the fuel we usually carry.

“While we will work hard to minimise inconvenience to customers, in some cases we may have no choice but to combine or cancel services, or divert flights to other airports to refuel causing longer flight times.

“Fiji Airways will endeavour to contact affected passengers and advise them of their flight changes where possible.

“Guests travelling to/from Auckland over the next two weeks are also requested to check if their flight departure/arrival times are affected by visiting the flight status section of our website or by contacting our reservations centre.

“We apologise to all affected guests for any disruptions to their travel plans due to the fuel shortage at Auckland Airport, which is beyond our control.”

Airports Fiji Limited yesterday in a statement said: “A number of Air New Zealand flights have diverted to Nadi to refuel.

“This is subject to availability of jet fuel for these non-scheduled flights. Air New Zealand and fuel oil companies are working together at ensuring fuel supply for Air New Zealand during this crisis.”


About the leak

The New Zealand Herald has reported that Air New Zealand spokeswoman Kelly Kilgour said it would refund all fares for flights that were cancelled because of a cut to an Auckland pipeline operated by Refining New Zealand that supplies jet fuel to the airport.

But “as this situation is outside of Air New Zealand’s control”, customers would need to contact their insurer for assistance “with any accommodation or out of pocket expenses incurred”, she said.

The jet fuel pipeline leak, which has already led to the cancellation of about 30 flights out of Auckland airport, could take up to two weeks to fix, Refining NZ has warned.

The 168 kilometre pipeline – which carries jet fuel, petrol and diesel directly from the oil refinery at Marsden Point in Northland to tanks in Wiri, south Auckland – has been out of action since Thursday afternoon after it was damaged, apparently by a digger.

Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood confirmed oil companies were rationing fuel supplies to airlines.

Refining NZ spokesman Greg McNeill estimated the pipeline would take between 10 and 14 days to fix.

Air NZ was currently assessing the financial impact of the fuel-line cut on its own business, she said. Other airlines are also affected.


Extra refuelling stops

Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ ) executive director Justin Tighe-Umbers said that its 28 members were looking at carrying out extra refuelling stops outside New Zealand.

Airlines are putting options into effect including:

Bringing extra fuel on inbound flights to cover outbound flights

Diverting some flights to Australian or Pacific Island airports to refuel

Cancelling some flights

Problems are trying to reach all passengers to keep them informed of the status of their flights.

“Airlines are working hard to minimise rescheduling and the knock-on effect this will have with travellers’ connections to other flights,” Mr Tighe-Umbers says.

“Airlines advise that passengers should expect some disruptions to their flights and urge passengers to check their flight status’ regularly online.”

BARNZ says it members are being kept informed by their fuel suppliers and responding collectively to manage the situation as efficiently as possible.

“Logistically this is a significant challenge and it will require travellers to not only check their flights, but to have patience while NZ Refinery works to repair the pipeline and restore the flow of jet fuel to the Wiri terminal and Auckland Airport.”

The New Zealand government would offer all the assistance it could to the companies affected, he said.



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