Airways New Zealand and Hawke’s Bay Airport today announced that an independent aeronautical study has determined that the airport’s existing air traffic control (ATC) service should stay. Airways and the airport will now begin discussions on a revised commercial agreement to cover the service going forward.
In May 2020, Airways launched a review of the air traffic services it provides at seven regional airports which had reducing traffic volumes, including Hawke's Bay Airport. The purpose of the review has been twofold: to confirm that the right level of ATC is provided at the airports, and that appropriate agreements are in place for funding these services.
The first step in the process has been for involved airports to undertake aeronautical studies to examine their individual airspace environments. Over the past six months, Hawke’s Bay Airport has worked collaboratively with Airways on its aeronautical study.
Airways CEO Graeme Sumner and Hawke’s Bay Airport CEO Stuart Ainslie are welcoming the results of the study, which they say presents a robust and comprehensive picture of the airport’s ATC needs now and into the future. The report provides data driven modelling out to 2045 to inform the outcome.
“The study has considered input from our stakeholders, including airlines, on what passenger numbers and aircraft movements will look like under a number of scenarios – including the pandemic,” Mr Ainslie said
“Our goal has been to make sure there is an evidence-based service in place at Hawke’s Bay Airport that means safety remains paramount, without imposing unnecessary cost onto the airlines and other operators who fly in and out,” Mr Sumner says.
Airways and the airport have worked closely to achieve the outcome. Confident in the study’s recommendation to retain the highest level of service available, the study will not need Civil Aviation Authority review.
ATC is provided for Hawke’s Bay Airport by Airways controllers working in the airport tower. These controllers oversee aircraft in their first and last stages of flight, as they take-off and land at airport, while they are outside of airspace managed by Airways' radar centre based in Christchurch.
“We are delighted that we will continue to see local air traffic control services for our aviation stakeholders and passengers travelling in and out of the region,” Mr Ainslie said.
“Hawke’s Bay Airport plays an essential role in keeping the region connected to New Zealand and the local economy thriving,” Mr Sumner said. “We’re pleased with the way we have been able to work together to get the right result.”