Hawke’s Bay commuters can (almost) breathe a sigh of relief that the air traffic controllers will remain in their tower, that is if the recommendations from an independent aeronautical report are implemented.
The report has determined that the airport’s existing air traffic control (ATC) service should stay and Airways New Zealand and Hawke’s Bay 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 was 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.
ATC is provided for Hawke’s Bay Airport by Airways’ controllers working in the airport tower who oversee aircraft in their first and last stages of flight, as they take-off and land at airport. The airspace nearby is managed by Airways’ radar centre based in Christchurch.
Airways NZ 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,” says Mr Ainslie. “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.
“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.”