Auckland fuel crisis: Fewer flight cancellations as fuel limits settle in

Airlines in Auckland are hopeful they won't have to cancel any more flights after being forced to operate with limited jet fuel supplies.

The rationing is expected to continue into next week, after a pipeline carrying jet fuel to the airport from a refinery in Marsden Point in Northland was damaged last Thursday.

But domestic flights are expected to be able to continue as usual on Thursday, with fewer cancellations to international flights.

The freeze on ticket sales has also been lifted.

Thousands of passengers have been affected by cancelled or delayed flights as a result, with the companies forced to operate on just 30 percent of their usual fuel.

Board of Airline Representatives executive director Justin Tighe-Umbers admitted the news would likely be "cold comfort" to those affected by the fuel crisis.

"We continue just to ask for patience and understanding as this pipeline is fixed," he said in a joint press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

While things are still tight for airlines, things are looking up for motorists. Fuel industry spokesperson Andrew McNaught said fuel is still being produced at the refinery and ground fuel supply continues to be "healthy".

Despite a number of Z Energy petrol stations running out of 95 petrol, he said things should be back as usual on Thursday.

"Z Energy made a conscious decision to limit its 95 octane stocks... Apart from a couple of sites, by close of business today, they will be restocked with 95 octane," he said.

The damage to the pipeline from the Marsden Point refinery is believed to have been caused by a digger, although the cause is still being investigated.

The line has been shut down temporarily, with refining NZ saying repairs are on track and deliveries expected to resume to its Wiri storage depot between Sunday and Tuesday.

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins on Wednesday announced an industry-government group had been set up to oversee the supply restoration.

It includes oil companies, Air NZ, Auckland Transport, the Defence Force, and government departments.

That's in addition to assistance from the Defence Force in delivering fuel around the country and a call for civil servants to delay non-essential flights.

Meanwhile, Auckland Council says it's looking at taking steps to give tankers easier routes through traffic with controlled traffic lights and bus lanes if needed.

Mayor Phil Goff says he's been given assurances the city won't run out of car fuel.

Newshub. / NZN