Temporary disruption to Marsden Point pipeline

About 27 domestic and international flights were cancelled over the weekend

NICOLE LAWTON STUFF About 27 domestic and international flights were cancelled over the weekend

A breakdown in the supply of jet fuel to Auckland Airport will increase the demand for refuelling aircraft at Wellington Airport.

Refining NZ which owns the pipeline said it could take 10 to 15 days to fix.

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.

Those affected were passengers travelling on Air New Zealand and Virgin Airways to Samoa the Gold Coast and Melbourne

It said it had lost the equivalent of two tanker loads of fuel from the leak.

The statement said fuel companies were rationing the amount of oil they supplied airlines because a leaking Auckland supply pipeline was being repaired at Marsden Point.

"Particularly around the tanks or the trucks the fuel can be transported in so that's in relation to what we call land fuels like diesel and petrol".

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With the Northland pipeline estimated to take another 10 days to fix, further flight delays are expected.

A leak was discovered in a section of the pipeline which runs between the refinery and the storage depot at Wiri, and work is underway to fix it.

"Airlines operating at Auckland Airport have had their usual fuel allocations reduced", Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited spokesman Andrew McNaught said.

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Auckland Airport Chief Executive Mr Littlewood says the airport is putting on additional staff to help support passengers and address concerns while the disruptions remain in place.

Yesterday the government stepped in, with Prime Minister Bill English saying government would offer all the assistance it can to get fuel supplies back up and running.

"I've been given a high-level briefing that there is an issue, given instructions to ministers, and the company will be making public statements about it". They will keep their customers informed of any changes to flight schedules, as required.

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