Some flights have been cancelled, and many more have been rerouted or delayed, since a leak was discovered in the pipeline linking the Marsden Oil Refinery to Auckland International Airport.
It is believed that the pipe was damaged several months ago, but the rupture was only detected on September 14. The 90 miles (140km) pipe is normally the only means of delivering jet fuel to the airport and since the supply has been severed only 30% of the normal supply has been available, delivered by a limited number of road vehicles. Once the leak was found, fuel rationing was applied to all airlines using the airport, resulting in aircraft tankering fuel from other destinations and enroute stops on some long range services.
Some domestic services flown by Air New Zealand and Virgin have been cancelled, while a Boeing 777 positioned from Auckaldn to Wellington to uplift and then returned to operate a long-range service. International flights by some airlines – including Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways – have had to make unscheduled enroute stops in Australia or the Pacific islands to uplift additional fuel, extending journey times and delaying arrivals.
The pipeline is owned by Refining NZ. A plan is being prepared to ship some fuel to a port closer to the airport, and synchronise road traffic flows to enable speadier tanker journeys between the boats and the airfield. Meanwhile the pipeline is being repaired. A spokesman for the firm claims that the the work will be completed and supplies will return to normal between September 24 and 26.