Flight paths in Auckland
More than 450 flights land and take off at Auckland Airport every day. As a result, almost all of Auckland experiences overflight by arriving and/or departing aircraft.
Aircraft predominantly land at Auckland Airport from the north-east and depart to the south-west (when the runway operates like this it is known as Runway 23L). The diagram below shows these aircraft movements over two typical weeks at the airport in September 2011, prior to the first SMART flight path trial.
SMART Approaches overview
Airways New Zealand, Auckland Airport and the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ) have worked together to trial and implement new flight paths, called SMART Approaches, into Auckland Airport.
The SMART Approaches use satellite-based navigation and enable aircraft to burn less fuel, emit less carbon dioxide and fly more quietly. They contribute to international aviation carbon dioxide-emission reduction proposals and are aligned with the Government’s National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan.
The SMART Approaches help Auckland to be better connected to the rest of New Zealand and the world. They are in line with global developments and safely enable the growth of Auckland Airport, which is vital to New Zealand’s economy.
Six SMART Approach flight paths currently operate at Auckland Airport, three from the north and three from the south. The diagram below shows the SMART Approach flight paths.
Airways designed and proposed these SMART Approach flight paths in line with civil aviation requirements at the request of the participating airlines. Civil Aviation Rule (CAR) Part 173 required
Auckland Airport to agree that the airport could be used for the SMART Approach flight paths before any flight path was implemented. After an assessment of the routes, in 2011, Auckland Airport agreed to the implementation of one SMART Approach flight path from the south onto Runway 05R (Black Y05), and then to the trial of the three other SMART Approach flight paths (Green X23, Blue X05 and Red Y23).
The Blue X05A and the Green X23A SMART Approach flight paths can only be used by aircraft between 7am and 10pm. A maximum of 10 flights per day can use each of the Blue X05A and Green X23A SMART Approach flight paths. The Black Y05 SMART Approach flight path from the south to Runway 05R and the Red Y23 SMART Approach flight path from the south to Runway 23L are available 24 hours a day uncapped.
A fifth SMART Approach to Auckland Airport from the north, known as the Yellow U23 SMART Approach, has been operational since May 2019. Aircraft can only use the Yellow track between 7am and 10pm, with a maximum of six flights per day. That maximum number of flights per day can be increased to ten if certain conditions are met.
A new SMART track called ‘Orange S23’ was implemented in September 2019 on a trial basis. This track was implemented to provide an additional option to the Red SMART track which has been in operation since 2012 and overflies the populated area of Wattle Downs and Manurewa.
In early 2020, usage of Orange track ceased several months into the 12-month trial to recalibrate the arrival profile slightly. The track commenced usage again in September 2020, but the usage of this track is significantly reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The trial will occur for a further full 12-month period and end in September 2021.