07 August 2010

AKL-PPQ delayed due operational requirements

Source : http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/new-zealand/3996245/Air-NZ-Paraparaumu-flights-delayed

Air New Zealand flights out of Paraparaumu airport – due to begin in February – have been delayed by safety concerns raised about the uncontrolled aerodrome. The Civil Aviation Authority says Paraparaumu Airport needs a staffed control tower supplying a flight information service to all aircraft using the airfield – stalling plans for Air NZ flights to start in February. The airport operator says it will comply but that it will mean extra fees for airport users. The authority's recommendation follows a fatal collision near the airport two years ago involving trainee pilots, and one at Feilding last month. There are 46,000 aircraft movements a year at Paraparaumu airport, including flight service air2there and many trainees learning to fly helicopters and small aircraft. Airport chief executive Steve Booten said that, given the collisions in Kapiti and Feilding, and the air force Iroquois helicopter crash at Pukerua Bay on Anzac Day, he could not argue against the recommendation. The airport is investigating the cost with Airways New Zealand, which would operate the service from the tower, and how the cost would be spread across users. The recommendation follows the CAA's rejection of the airport's application to introduce a mandatory transponder area to ground level – improving communications between planes – a requirement demanded by Air NZ before it launched the service operated by subsidiary Air Nelson. The service, using Q300 50-seater turbo-props, is planned to provide daily flights between Paraparaumu and Auckland. "The whole district is expecting the new flight service. We are confident commercial flights will start but this is likely to be a drawn-out process," Mr Booten said. "It has huge implications for the airport but how can you complain about a five or six dollar charge when lives are at stake? Everyone will pay a little more but safety will be vastly improved." A staffed control tower operated at the airport for years providing full traffic control, then an advisory flight service until former owner Murray Cole disestablished it in 1995. Full traffic control includes an air traffic controller while a flight service involves a staffed tower providing information to pilots. Kapiti Aero Club head Graeme Barrell was concerned about the effect on landing fees but did not believe users would leave. "It is a fantastic facility for small users." Air Nelson general manager Grant Kerr supported the CAA's recommendation but said it meant additional costs. "We are still keen to operate in and out of Paraparaumu but have to determine whether it is still feasible for us. We are reviewing that now." Helipro chief executive Rick Lucas, who runs a helicopter flying school at the airport, said increased charges would not bother him and he fully supported anything that would enhance safety. According to CAA figures, 17 aerodromes nationwide provide air traffic services. There are 26 certificated aerodromes, of which 16 have air traffic control.

1 comment:

  1. And I guess GA aircraft will have to pay the extra fees for the Flight Service Centre - Just to let Air NZ in...... Glad we managed to stop the Transponder airspace though!