BLOG: Where does Auckland Airport responsibility lie?

Air New Zealand planeIn a follow-up to his previous blog on the fuel shortage at Auckland Airport, eJet MD John Pitts explores the latest developments and questions who should be taking responsibility.

The aviation fuel outage at Auckland is set to continue for a few more days as Refining NZ works round the clock to repair two areas of damage in the pipeline.

Long haul flights are being forced to refuel elsewhere – either tankering into Auckland or making technical stops en route out of Auckland – and airlines are clearly having to adapt their fuel uplift strategies to cope with the situation.

Auckland Airport said in a statement: “Oil companies are responsible for transporting, storing and supplying fuel for use by airlines operating out of Auckland”. We do not agree that the responsibilities are so simple.

Clearly any airport must be singularly responsible for its own business continuity and should take all reasonable steps to ensure this, including having an active role in safeguarding the essential requirements for flight operations, which in this case is provision at all times of adequate supplies of aviation fuel.

Dozens of flight cancellations will have impacted the airport’s business operations. The situation highlights very clearly that airports now need to have much greater oversight on fuel to avoid their businesses being vulnerable, and that laissez faire is no longer good enough – if it ever was.

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