Call to use MetFlight service

Service is encouraging more Milford Aerodrome operators to sign up for its commercial weather briefing system to keep it financially viable.

MetService aviation services manager Ray Thorpe, of Wellington, said only nine operators out of 21 at the aerodrome subscribed to MetFlight Commercial for weather updates, which costs $5 a day.

The government agency spent $66,700 a year to supply MetFlight Commercial and it was "not viable in the commercial sense", Mr Thorpe said.

Some operators were getting by using the free MetFlight General Aviation Weather Briefing System (MetFlight GA), which was designed and produced only for use by recreational and training pilots.

MetFlight GA was sponsored by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Commercial use of MetFlight GA was prohibited unless agreed by written arrangement with MetService.

MetFlight Commercial featured more products specifically for commercial operators, as required by the CAA.

Mr Thorpe said there was no danger of MetFlight Commercial being cancelled and no fee increase was planned. The charge had increased by 4% in 1994 and another 4% in 2005.

CAA sponsorship of MetFlight GA would expire on December 31, 2010, but was expected to be renewed.

Mr Thorpe last week presented three options and a timeline to the Queenstown Milford Users Group. He declined to outline the options until the group had received his follow-up letter, which was posted this week.


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