Air New Zealand is flying long haul planes to the capital purely to refuel, as the airline struggles to cope with the Auckland jet fuel crisis.
The airport said in a statement that a Boeing 777-200 would fly to Wellington with only the pilots on board.
It will fill up with fuel, then return to Auckland, in preparations for further long haul operations.
In recent days Air New Zealand’s long haul flights have been having extra stopovers, primarily in Nadi in Fiji.
Airlines have been asked to cut the amount of jet fuel drawn from Auckland Airport to 30 per cent of normal uptake.
On Monday evening Air New Zealand said it was not hitting the target, forcing more flights to be cancelled.
Tuesday’s update shows the problems are broadening, with stopovers in the Pacific depleting supplies there.
Air New Zealand chief operations integrity & standards officer Captain David Morgan said the added step was to accommodate declining supplies in the Pacific.
“On that basis we are switching to a different mode of operation whereby Wellington, supplemented by Australia and those Pacific destinations able to support fuel uplifts, will be used to source the extra fuel required to maintain scheduled services.”
Wellington Airport’s runway is too short for long haul flights, however some large planes can take off from the airport if they have limited loads.
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