01 June 2017

No Convairs for Whakatane

The prospect of large planes taking off from Whakatane Airport has come to a shuddering halt. New regulations around aviation certification has prevented Air Chathams from launching a service that would see a 50-seater aircraft fly between Whakatane and Auckland. This ruling has arisen from a project involving Wellington Airport trying to extend its runway by 355 metres so it can draw more international flights to the city. Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny says this move cuts off their development potential to be able to test the effectiveness of large planes. He says there was a time when they didn't have to worry about these restrictions. 

Source : http://www.1xx.co.nz/news, 31 May 2017


  1. Haven't they been flying Convairs off and on over the past two years or so of operating this service

    1. Recent rule change. Convair can get into whakatane no problem.

    2. Bit of a funny way to word it as in "launch a service with a 50 seater aircraft" as they launched this with the convair originally didn't they not..? Then went to metro when tickets sales didn't warrant it being sufficient for the Convair... Then for Convairs to be periodically used over the last couple of years..?

  2. What are they currently using at the momemt - the DC3 or the flying pencils?

    What the Saab or is that to big?

  3. Mainly the Metroliners. I expect the runway at WHK is now deemed to short to accommodate the Convairs.

  4. Sadly it's the new runway RESA regulations that are creating all kinds of potential havoc, not just for Wellington, but even ZQN, The jewel in the tourist crown, is affected. Govt may need to step in and legislate an exemption rule.

  5. There are no new runway RESA regulations. The ICAO Rules were adopted in NZ in 2006, with airfields which did not then comply given a "grandfather" status which meant they did not immediately have to provide the full RESA distance. Only when an extension was built. However Whakatane was not "grandfathered". There is nothing new in this and no "havoc". Here is what the Court of Appeal said:

    "In summary, we are satisfied that an acceptable RESA must comply with the prescriptions imposed by Appendix A.1 to pt 139 of the Rules.

    The Authority, through the responsible Minister, made these Rules under the Act in order to implement the SARPs contained in cl 3.5 of Annex 14 to the Chicago Convention.

    We have reviewed New Zealand’s international obligations, the legislative purposes of the Act, the elimination of cost-benefit analysis by the 2004 amendments to the Act, the content of the Rules governing RESAs when compared to the relevant SARPs, and the intention of the Authority throughout its consultative process to implement the recommended practice as a mandatory requirement under New Zealand law in the interests of aviation safety.

    Our review leads us to the inescapable conclusion that a RESA must extend to 240 metres in length unless it can be shown that it is not practicable.

    The correct legal test therefore requires the Director to assess whether a 240-metre RESA can feasibly be constructed. If satisfied that this is not practicable, the Director is empowered to approve a shorter RESA only if it extends to the greatest distance practicable between 90 and 240 metres and meets the purposes of the statutory regime —aviation safety and New Zealand’s obligations under international aviation agreements — taking into account the development of arresting systems as a complement to RESAs in international aviation safety."

    If a full RESA at ZQN is not feasible, the Rule provides for that. Wellington simply wants to add hundreds of metres to its runway without complying with the Rule... and is going to the Supreme Court to argue for that.

  6. Thanks for this really excellent clarification

  7. Is the DC3 flying from Whakatane? I thought there was a problem of runway length for this size of plane