More flights cancelled in fuel crisis

Thirty-six flights have been cancelled today and 9000 Air New Zealand customers alone affected as the fuel crisis deepens.

An Auckland Airport spokesperson said of the 36 cancelled flights, 23 were domestic and 13 were international.

Some were heading to Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Vietnam, Fiji and Melbourne and operated by Air New Zealand, Qantas and Singapore Airlines.

Air New Zealand's chief operations integrity and standards officer Captain David Morgan says the cancellation of today's flights brings to 26 domestic, 11 transtasman and two international flights cancelled since Sunday.

"Air New Zealand estimates up to 3000 customers will be impacted by cancellations [today] with around 6000 inconvenienced by unexpected schedule changes. In most cases passengers are being accommodated on alternative services and the airline is working through the process of notifying customers. Further disruptions can be expected in coming days."

It has also taken the "unusual" step of restricting ticket sales, including stopping sales on international services.

Efforts were also being made to reduce cargo loads.

Mobil Oil lead country manager Andrew McNaught told Morning Report he's confident there will be no widespread petrol or diesel shortage across the Auckland region, as it is trucked in from other parts of the country.

Good stocks of ground fuels were being brought from other areas, including Mt Maunganui and Marsden Pt.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says he is prepared to use specially controlled traffic lights and bus lanes to get tankers through city streets in a bid to solve the fuel crisis.

Goff told the Herald the Auckland Council would do all it could to get fuel to where it was needed, including measures that could worsen the city's already chronic congestion.

"We're the international gateway to New Zealand and that gateway has to stay open," said Goff.

Options for transporting include getting the tankers to travel at night or using bus lanes.

The Northland Regional Council continues to monitor the clean-up operation at the site in Ruakaka.

Council staff have also been sampling groundwater bores to establish existing water quality parameters in the vicinity.

A council spokesman said there still didn't appear to be any significant environmental damage, despite the large volumes - up to 80,000 litres - of fuel spilled.

Public servants were told yesterday not to fly unless it was absolutely essential, and Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins wants fuel shipped to Wynyard Quarter and trucked through the city, synchronising traffic lights along the way.

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