Northern SMART Approaches flight track draft report now due in May

19 March 2014

The draft report on the Northern SMART Approaches trial will now be available by the end of May, rather than late March, it was announced today.

The three parties to the trial, Auckland Airport, Airways New Zealand, and the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ), have recognised that additional time is needed to analyse and further investigate all of the technical aviation information and community feedback on the trial, to ensure a thorough assessment is undertaken.

Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical operations, Judy Nicholl, says, “Auckland Airport, Airways New Zealand and the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand recognise that this delay may be disappointing to some and we apologise for this. However, it is important to take the time to fully evaluate all of the technical aviation data and community feedback that has been gathered.”

“A draft report on the trial will now be made available by the end of May. Industry and community comment on the draft report will then be sought and assessed before a final report is issued later in 2014.”

The 12 month Northern SMART Approaches Trial, which tested a new flight track to the airport that was designed to improve flight path and aircraft efficiency and reduce the impact of aircraft noise on the community, ended on 31 October 2013. Three airlines participated in the trial – Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar.

BARNZ’s executive director, John Beckett, says, “It is essential there is thorough analysis of the trial so we can review all the information at hand and improve the flight paths from the points of view of local communities, the travelling public and airlines. If that means a small delay in the publication of the draft report is required, then that is what needs to happen.”

SMART Approaches are part of a worldwide drive by the aviation industry and regulators to improve flight paths. Using the accuracy of satellite-based navigation, SMART Approaches follow a curved approach to the runway and create a more continuous descent, meaning the aircraft travels fewer miles, reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The aircraft engines’ power settings during SMART approaches also result in better noise management.

The Northern trial was specifically designed to maximise flying over industrial areas and reduce the distance flown over residential areas. The trial operated between 7am and 10pm, with a maximum of ten flights per day using the Northern SMART Approach track.

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Simon Lambourne
+64 27 477 6120
+64 9 255 9089