Focus on air traffic control alternatives

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Invercargill airport general manager Nigel Finnerty.

POSSIBILITIES for the future of Invercargill Airport air control will be formulated after an aeronautical study is completed.

Invercargill Airport general manager Nigel Finnerty said the study was a risk assessment of the southern airspace and how aircraft were managed.

“Through that you build a current understanding, and build what the risks are. And then, look at the mitigation and how you manage those risks – one of the ways now is through air traffic control.”

Initially this was done with Airways New Zealand, which confirmed last month it would cease air control services at seven New Zealand airports.

Those airports included Invercargill Airport and the airfield flight information services at Milford Sound Piopiotahi Aerodrome.

“Over the last four weeks we’ve been out looking at the market and understanding how we do that work,” Mr Finnerty said.

Airways New Zealand announced last week a working group with Gisborne Airport, Hawke’s Bay Airport and New Plymouth Airport would collaborate to plan for how air traffic services could be provided to those regions.

An Airways New Zealand representative said it was not accurate to say the company was reconsidering decisions.

“There’s simply a process to work through which means options other than withdrawal are also on the table.”

The Civil Aviation Authority would make the final decision on what type of service was needed for each airport.

Alternatives to a full air traffic control service included an Aerodrome Flight Information Service or operating as an unattended aerodrome.

Airways New Zealand was also investigating digital solutions.

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