Queenstown Airport is outgrowing an airspace classification
meant for quieter airports and the Civil Aviation Authority
(CAA) is proposing a change to ensure safety.
The CAA has decided the airspace classification for the
airport should change from class D to C.
The change will mean more air traffic control management and
less self-management by pilots within the airspace - putting
it into the same league as Auckland, Wellington and
A CAA spokesman said the change in classification would mean
passenger aircraft which were able to fly in cloud were
separated from all other aircraft by air traffic control.
''At present, these aircraft are only given traffic
information about flights which are operating under visual
flight rules [and must keep clear of cloud] and the pilots
are responsible [for] ensuring that they do not get too
close,'' the spokesman said.
Queenstown Airport chief executive Scott Paterson said under
classification D there was more self-management by pilots and
classification C would mean a move to more air traffic
In class C airspace air traffic control separated instrument
flight rules (IFR) aircraft from all other aircraft.
The consultation document released by the CAA notes that
passenger numbers have trebled in the past 20 years and there
had also been a major shift in the type of aircraft used,
from turboprop to turbojet.
It also states that the increase in traffic at Queenstown
required ''action to ensure aviation safety'' and there had
been a ''fivefold increase, in recent times, of airspace
The consultation was initiated this month and discussions
with Queenstown users and Airways are planned for next month.
A final decision on the airspace classification is expected