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Air NZ returning to normal operations amid Auckland fuel crisis

Air New Zealand operated most of its domestic flights on schedule on 20 September, while it continues to take measures to mitigate the impact of fuel shortages at Auckland airport on its long-haul network.

The Star Alliance carrier says that since 17 September it has cancelled 41 flights from Auckland due to the fuel rationing measures in place after a key supply pipeline was ruptured. That includes a service on 21 September on the Auckland-Houston route.

It adds that it is “continuing to implement a range of measures to reduce fuel uplift in Auckland”, such as ferrying an empty Boeing 787-9 to Wellington for refuelling before operating an Auckland-Buenos Aries service.

Previously, the carrier had rerouted a number of its long-haul services to make stops in Wellington, Nadi or Australia to pick up additional fuel, as it has been limited to receiving only around 30% of its regular fuel load.

Airways New Zealand has also doubled the number of flights permitted to use its SMART approach to runway 23L at Auckland to 20 to assist airlines in cutting their fuel use. The additional GPS-guided approaches will be permitted for as long as it takes for fuel supplies to return to normal.

Board of Airline Representatives of New Zealand executive director Justin Tighe-Umbers says that the additional 10 SMART approaches will allow airlines to save approximately 2,000 litres of fuel per day.

“That’s almost the amount of fuel needed by an A320 aircraft to fly from Auckland to Wellington, so we welcome the additional supply created by this decision,” he adds.

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