Qantas last night flew a jumbo jet and an Airbus A330 across the Tasman into Auckland to use as "fuel mules" for its aircraft hit by the aviation gas shortage.

The Boeing 747-400 was a special flight scheduled just to deliver fuel and was able to siphon off about 65,000kg to awaiting aircraft and a fuel truck. The A330 was a scheduled service carrying additional fuel and provided around 10,000kg.

The flights, nicknamed the "fuel mules", transferred fuel directly to aircraft using special hoses which were freighted over to Auckland.

Additional fuel was transferred to a fuel truck and delivered to other Qantas and Jetstar aircraft at the airport.

Fuel is pumped out of the donor aircraft using the aircraft's fuel pumps but when moving fuel from a larger aircraft like the 747 to the smaller A320, gravity does help in the transfer.

By tankering in fuel from Australia, as well as other measures, Qantas and Jetstar have been able to minimise the impact of the Auckland fuel shortage on customers.

Jetstar said impact of the fuel shortage, caused by the rupturing of Refining NZ's pipeline from Marsden Pt, was reducing.

Advertisement