Tonga flight repeatedly delayed as Auckland jet fuel crisis deepens

A total of four trans-Tasman and 26 domestic flights have been cancelled between Sunday and Wednesday. Photo/'Elisiva Jr. Lātū

The Virgin Australia flight from Tonga to Auckland tonight Tuesday 19 has been repeatedly delayed this evening as thousands of people are expected to have their travel plans disrupted over the coming days.

The Flight VA60, Virgin had been rescheduled to arrive at 11.32pm after it was planned to arrive at 11.20pm. The latest updates on flight arrival and departure schedules on the Airport website this evening showed the Virgin flight arrival time was delayed again until 11.45pm.

Meanwhile, an Air New Zealand flight from Tonga NZ977 to Auckland tonight at 11.59pm and an Air New Zealand flight NZ270 from Auckland to Tonga tomorrow Wednesday 20 at 9.15am were going ahead as planned.

27 flights were cancelled yesterday after the oil pipeline from Marsden Point burst on Thursday after it had been previously damaged by a digger trying to extract kauri logs near Ruakaka.

A total of four trans-Tasman and 26 domestic flights have been cancelled between Sunday and Wednesday.

Up to 3000 customers are expected to be impacted by cancelled flights on Wednesday, and a further 6000 inconvenienced by unexpected schedule changes, an Air New Zealand spokesman told Fairfax Media.

“Air New Zealand has taken the extraordinary step of restricting ticket sales, including halting sales of some international services”, NZ Herald report said.

“The airline has been taking increasingly disruptive steps to hit the target of cutting its fuel uptake from Auckland Airport to 30 per cent of normal.”

New Zealand’s air traffic control provider said it was implementing fuel conservation measures to help alleviate the impact of the Auckland aviation fuel shortage.

It expects up to 10 days of disruption to passengers while Airways enforces stricter air traffic sequencing and normal fuel supplies are restored.

Using advanced aircraft sequencing technology, Airways is able to queue aircraft arrivals and departures at New Zealand’s major airports in the most efficient way to avoid air traffic congestion across the national network and reduce fuel burn.

“This is an important tool for us which, under normal operating conditions, is responsible for around 11,500 tonnes of fuel savings for airlines annually,” Airways acting General Manager of System Operations Tim Boyle says.

“Due to the current fuel shortage, we’re enhancing this capability to reduce consumption as much as possible.”

“Passengers may notice that they are held on the ground for longer than usual. This is because it is better to have aircraft holding on the ground with the engines off, rather than slowing down en-route and burning more fuel in the air.”

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  1. Naʻe tautoloi he efiafi ni e taimi tūʻuta mai ʻa e vakapuna Virgin Australia mei Tonga ki ʻAokalani taimi tatau kuo lau afe e kakai ʻe uesia ʻenau ngaahi palani folaú ʻi ha ngaahi lau ʻaho mei heni.

    Naʻe pau ke tau mai ʻa e Virgin folau fika VA60 he taimi 11.32ef hili ia e ʻuluaki palani ke tau mai he 11.20ef.

    Ka ʻi he talamuiaki fakamuimui taha ʻo e taimi tūʻuta mo e mavahe ʻa e ngaahi folaú ʻa ia ʻoku hā ʻi he uepisaiti ʻa e Malaʻevakapuná naʻe toe liliu ai ʻa e taimi tau maí ki he 11.45ef.

    Taimi tatau ko e folau fika NZ977 ʻa e ʻEa Nuʻu Silá mei Tonga ki ʻAokalani he poó ni taimi 11.59pm mo ha folau mei ʻAokalani ki Tonga ʻa e ʻEa Nuʻu Sila ai pe fika NZ270 he ʻaho Pulelulu 20 taimi 9.15png ʻoku kei tuʻulāhoko pe ia.

    Ne feʻunga mo e folau ʻe 27 ne kaniseli ʻaneafi hili ia ha pā ʻa e paipa lolo mei Marsden Point ʻi he Tuʻapulelulú tupu mei hano maumauʻi ʻe ha mīsni tika (digger) ne feinga ke taʻaki ha fuʻu kupuʻi kauli ofi ʻi Ruakaka.

    ʻOku fakafuofua ʻe feʻunga mo e ʻaho ʻe 10 ʻa e faingataʻa kuo hoko ki he malaʻevakapuná ʻi he maumau ko ʻení pea lava ke toki lele lelei makatuʻuanga ʻi he ʻikai toe lava ke aʻu ha lolo ki he malaʻé ke ʻutu e ngaahi vakapuná.

    Naʻe feʻunga mo e fepunaʻaki fakavahaʻafonua ʻe 26 he vahaʻa ʻo ʻAositelēlia mo Nuʻu Silá ne kaniseli ia ʻi he ʻaho Sāpate aʻu mai ki he ʻaho Pulelulú.

    Kuo aʻu ki he kau kasitomā ʻe toko 3000 ʻoku ʻi ai e ʻamanaki ʻe uesia ʻi hono kaniseli ʻenau ngaahi folaú pea ʻe aʻu ki he toko 6,000 ʻe uesia he ngaahi feliuliuaki fakafokifā ki heʻenau taimi folaú.