At approximately 1.20pm this afternoon, the fire alarm went off at Airway's Christchurch Andy Herd Building, where Airways main radar facility is housed.
The fire alarm was set off by smoke from one of our two Uninterrupted ower Supplies (UPS) which had failed. Therefore our radar and communications system reverted to back-up system mode.
While Airways was able to continue to safely manage domestic airborne traffic, as the system was in back-up mode a conservative approach to managing New Zealand’s airspace was taken, which included halting departures within New Zealand airspace. Our airborne international flights were unaffected as our main Oceanic control centre is independently managed from Auckland.
By 2pm we had identified the cause of the issue and by 2.15pm our operations were running normally on mains power supply with back-up, and normal operations had resumed (domestic flights were departing once again).
Airways Chief Executive Graeme Sumner will hold a media stand-up at 4pm this afternoon. Due to time constraints, Mr Sumner is unable to do separate interviews outside of this time.
Media are asked to meet at 3.50pm at Airways Auckland Airport office, level 2, 6 Leonard Isitt Drive.
There are two sets of lifts in the building, Airways is accessed via the lifts at the back of the building (not the lifts by the cafe).
As Airways' offices are secure, media are asked to RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure there are no issues getting in.
2.27pm: Normal air traffic operations have resumed following the issue affecting systems nationally. Flights are no longer grounded. There will be another update shortly.
2.15pm: At approximately 1.30pm this afternoon, a fire alarm went off at the building that houses Airways 'Christchurch Radar Centre. At this point, we don't have all the facts, however the following is known:
The fire brigade has now cleared the building as safe and the radar centre continues to operate.
There is a fault with our main air traffic system and we are operating on our back up standby system. This means taking a conservative approach to managing New Zealand's airspace. Therefore departures throughout New Zealand have been halted and arrivals are being managed.
This is a significant time of day when traffic flows are increasing with international flights starting to arrive.
The safety and wellbeing of the travelling public, our staff and our customers is our main priority. We will provide an update as more information comes to hand.