Passenger safety will be maintained if proposals currently in discussion went ahead, Airways CEO Graeme Sumner said. “Airways does not compromise on safety, and the proposals we have presented to date are based on this fundamental understanding.
“As we are still working through the consultation process with our staff and their union NZALPA, it is important to remember that no final decision has yet been made on the proposal to withdraw current Airways services from seven regional aerodromes. The timeframe for this consultation was extended by two weeks and we are now working through the feedback provided. We expect to know the outcome in the week commencing May 18.
“It is not uncommon for low traffic airports throughout the world and in New Zealand to operate without a full air traffic control service. In New Zealand, uncontrolled aerodromes include Kerikeri, Hokitika, Taupo, Whangarei and Timaru airports. Last year there were more than 37,000 safe aircraft movements at unattended aerodromes across New Zealand.
“Air New Zealand has expressed its support for the proposal to withdraw services and has confirmed it will be able to operate to these locations under review safely.
“Should the proposal proceed, this input from NZALPA will be considered along with feedback from all relevant parties in a process that will be led by the affected airports and CAA. In this context, we are confident that passenger safety and airline operations will not be affected and we would work collaboratively with the CAA, the airports and airlines to ensure a safe and orderly transition.
“In the last two weeks of lockdown across New Zealand we saw the same amount of air traffic as we would normally have seen in one day. While the situation is improving, we anticipate it will take up to two years for traffic volumes to recover to just 60% of pre Covid-19 levels.”
Airways' detailed response to the claims is here