The number of flights cancelled due to a shortage in fuel supplied to Auckland International Airport has dropped markedly today.

However, there are still delays, some lengthy, as airlines get into the swing of coping with less - 30 per cent - of their normal fuel usage.

An airport spokeswoman confirmed there are 14 cancellations at the airport today, nine are international flights, five domestic.

Most of the cancelled flights are Air New Zealand's to Sydney, Houston and Melbourne, however arrivals from Ho Chi Minh, Melbourne and Sydney have also been cut.


The airline said passengers due to travel on the cancelled Houston flight today will be accommodated on alternative services.

It had also lifted its unusual restriction on long-haul ticket sales for services over the coming days, however some restrictions remain on selected transtasman and Pacific Island trips.

Qantas has cancelled a flight to Sydney today. Singapore Airlines had axed flights to Sydney and Melbourne.

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins this afternoon said the HMNZS Endeavour had been deployed and 20 Defence Force category 5 tanker drivers will also hit the roads today.

"With the HMNZS Endeavour able to transport up to 4.8 million litres of diesel fuel around the country - the equivalent of 150 tankers - this will allow the industry to focus more of their resources on Auckland."

The HMNZS Endeavour left Devonport at 11am for Marsden Point, where it will be loaded up with diesel fuel for delivery to ports in New Zealand.

She noted the drop in cancellations at the airport today and said that was likely to continue to reduce.

Fuel company representative Andrew McNaught, who is also the boss of oil giant Mobil, told the AM Show this morning a Mobil station in Auckland ran out of diesel last night. It had since been replenished.

He said there might be fuel run outs at some service stations but they weren't anything for customers to worry about and would get topped up again.

To combat the issue, the number of trucks transporting ground fuel from Mt Maunganui and Northland had also significantly increased.

There were now 34 trucks making the trip from Tauranga instead of up to 14, while 14 trucks were now operating between Marsden Pt and the airport, up from two.

Meanwhile the Northland Regional has sent bore water samples from near the leak site area at Ruakaka to accredited laboratories in Auckland and Hamilton, with results expected within 10 to 20 days.

Council staff yesterday took samples from three sites in the drain and two in groundwater bores. However, a spokesman said the council didn't expect to find anything amiss as they were some distance - about 400m - from the leak site.

There had been no visible evidence of any jet fuel reaching the Ruakaka River, which is approximately 2km from the scene.

Refining NZ last night said it had made good progress repairing the pipeline and crews would today cut out the damaged section.

A new 17m section will be hydro tested and delivered to the site this morning

The company said it was on track to deliver fuel back through the pipeline within its target window of between Sunday and Tuesday.

However, settling, recertification and transport to the airport for use would take an additional 30 hours.