CAA approves airport safety

The Civil Aviation Authority has given Queenstown Airport safety plans a tick of approval, after residents raised concerns about the facility.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council requested an analysis from CAA following concerns raised at public forums and council meetings about the safety of the airport, which is flanked by mountains.

Residents were especially concerned about aircraft icing, and also raised issues such as bird-strike, geography and the mix of aviation activities at the airport.

CAA chief executive Graeme Harris said all airports, including Queenstown, posed safety challenges, but he believed appropriate risk mitigation plans were in place there.

"The CAA recently conducted a comprehensive review of risk controls in place to support safe air transport operations at night into Queenstown Airport," Mr Harris said.

"Many of these controls also apply to daytime operations.

"This review concluded that the risk controls are fit for purpose and are being effectively applied in practice."

The risk of aircraft icing had been analysed and there was believed to be no cause for concern, Mr Harris said.

The issue was regularly monitored, and CAA would conduct a further analysis.

"So far, there is nothing to suggest that Queenstown presents a higher-risk profile than normal from an aircraft icing perspective."

There had been numerous occasions on which airlines had cancelled flights rather than operate in severe weather, he said.


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