'SAFETY FIRST’ APPROACH BEHIND SHORT DELAY TO FLIGHTS
Concerns for the safety of passengers prompted a decision to hold three international flights for 30 minutes this morning.
Lew Jenkins, Group Manager ANS Delivery for Airways NZ, says the short delay was due to an “extremely rare” glitch in the processing of air flight data.
“At around 9.10am today, our Oceanic Air Traffic Control System indicated a small amount of flight plan data was not being processed correctly. The air traffic controllers and software specialists followed standard procedures in an attempt to isolate the data that they believed was causing the issue, and set about fixing it.”
Mr Jenkins said standard procedure with any such issues is to adopt a ‘safety first’ approach and restrict air traffic entering New Zealand’s international airspace.
“Keeping passengers safe is at the heart of everything we do, so we made the decision to hold two flights on the ground at Auckland and one in Queenstown for around 30 minutes. No aircraft inbound to New Zealand were affected, but one Air New Zealand flight that had recently departed Auckland for Sydney returned to Auckland.”
Mr Jenkins said all air traffic control systems were now operating at 100% capability and a full investigation was underway to determine the cause of this morning’s issue.
“Airways apologises to anyone whose travel plans were disrupted this morning, particularly at such a busy time of the year. But safety is always our first priority and we moved quickly to ensure that all passengers were safe and to restore the system to full functionality as quickly as possible.”
As New Zealand’s sole air navigation service provider, Airways is responsible for NZ’s 30 million sq kilometres of airspace, providing air traffic control, surveillance, communication, flight inspection, mapping and airspace design services.
For further information:
Monica Davis, Acting Communications Manager, 0274 732 917
- Airways is a world leading commercial Air Navigation Service Provider, based in New Zealand.
- Airways delivers air traffic control and engineering training; provides ATM/CNS and AIM/AIS design; project management and procurement consultancy in over 65 countries.
- For more information about Airways please visit www.airways.co.nz
What is Air Traffic Control?
Air Traffic Control comprises the various aircraft navigation and communication systems that use computers, radar, radios, and other instruments and devices to provide guidance to flying aircraft.
Trained personnel working as air traffic controllers at stations on the ground constantly monitor these systems and track the locations and speeds of individual aircraft. Controllers can warn aircraft should they come too close to each other. Air traffic control is also used for the safe coordination of landings and takeoffs at airports.
Aviation plays a crucial role in New Zealand’s economic wellbeing.
Projected long-term growth of the aviation sector globally means it is essential to maintain the vitality of aviation through safe, effi cient, cost effective and environmentally sustainable air navigation services. To ensure this, future Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems must provide for optimum use of enhanced technology capabilities; both airborne and ground based.