MEDIA RELEASE: Community Groups welcome Wellington Airport Delay at Environment Court

March 21, 2017 Residents and ratepayers group the Guardians of the Bays has welcomed the news that Wellington Airport will postpone the progression of its runway extension resource consent in the Environment Court. In advance of a pre-hearing conference on Thursday, the Airport has announced that it will withdraw its resource consent application while it appeals to the Supreme Court on the Court of Appeal ruling that the Civil Aviation Authority must reconsider its decision on the length of the proposed runway safety area. Guardians of the Bays’ Co-Chair Richard Randerson said the decision showed that Wellington Airport’s application was deficient in not considering possible contingencies such as the Court of Appeal decision. Wellington Airport has said in its own memo to the court that it will potentially need to rescope the application or withdraw it completely, if its appeal to the Supreme Court is unsuccessful. The Pilots Association case on the safety of the extension was before the courts well before Wellington Airport lodged its application to the Environment Court. Yet it still went ahead and used nearly $3 million of ratepayer funding to scope a proposal which now looks like it will be redundant. First and foremost, any Read More …

MEDIA RELEASE GotB: Airport Extension proposal delayed yet again – raising doubts about viability

For immediate release 6 March 2017 Residents’ and ratepayers’ group the Guardians of the Bays have today welcomed news that Wellington International Airport has requested an interim adjournment of proceedings from the Environment Court. The request from the Airport comes in response to the Court of Appeal ruling that the Civil Aviation Authority must reconsider its decision on the length of the proposed runway safety area. Guardians of the Bays’ Co-Chair Richard Randerson said the request showed that WIAL has not considered all the issues in enough depth. “We are pleased that the Airport is reconsidering its position. The runway extension proposal continues to face hurdles because it has not been well considered or evaluated. This serious concern around safety is just one of many examples where the numbers don’t stack up. There is already evidence that the proposal is likely to cost more than the $350m originally suggested. An extension to the runway safety area would push costs well over the half a billion dollars it is currently expected to reach and would put the project well outside the parameters of the current Environment Court application.” Co-Chair Dr. Sea Rotmann said the burden to ratepayers and taxpayers of the Read More …

RE-BLOG Werewolf: Gordon Campbell on the runway extension’s latest court failure

March 1, 2017 Gordon Campbell         Thank goodness for the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). The Court of Appeal has just ringingly found in favour of the pilots’ union over the safety issues raised by the Wellington runway extension. Not only has the previous High Court ruling been overturned. The Director of Civil Aviation (CAA) has also been ordered told back to the drawing board to properly do the job of evaluating the size of the safety areas required for the extension, in full accord with New Zealand’s international obligations. The pilots union were also compensated by the Court of Appeal judges for their costs in bringing the court action. Interestingly, the reasoning in the Court of Appeal decision almost exactly mirrored the detailed critique of the original High Court decision made in this Werewolf article last October. All along, the pilots’ safety-related legal challenge had revolved around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. Basically, the RESA is the safety zone required if and when planes ‘run off’ the runway proper and need to decelerate safely, in the event of an emergency, or because of Read More …

NEWS: CAA must review safety areas at Wellington Airport, Court of Appeal rules

HAMISH RUTHERFORD Last updated 13:05, February 28 2017 SUPPLIED An aerial map of Wellington Airport showing where the proposed runway extension would be built to the south. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has to revisit a decision over whether a longer runway safety area is needed if Wellington Airport extends its runway, a court has ruled. In a decision released on Tuesday the Court of Appeal has agreed with the NZ Airlines Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) that the CAA must consider if longer runway safety areas (RESA) can feasibly be constructed, and also consider the use of arresting systems if appropriate. The Court of Appeal found that in ruling that Wellington’s existing 90 metre safety area as compliant and appropriate for Wellington Airport’s proposed extension, the director of the CAA “made material errors in law”. unknown Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Sanderson said it was too early to say what impact the Court of Appeal ruling would have on the proposed runway extension. Under international aviation rules, regulators must ensure that airports operate with RESAs of at least 90m, and if “practicable” of at least 240m. READ MORE: * Wellington Airport puts resource consent plans for runway extension on hold * Wellington Airport asking councils to restart runway extension Read More …

NEWS – Newshub: New Wellington reservoir must be priority after quake – Councillor

Link to original post here. Tuesday 22 Nov 2016 9:18 p.m. By Chris Holden A new reservoir designed to prevent Wellington being cut off from water for up to 100 days following an earthquake is being labelled an absolute priority by a Wellington City councillor. In an unlikely move, Green Party Councillor Iona Pannett, who chairs the Wellington City Council’s City Strategy Committee, has revealed she is open to considering a public-private partnership to construct the $25 million, 35 million litre reservoir above the Prince of Wales park in central Wellington. Without the reservoir, Wellingtonians could face up to a 100-day wait to get their water back up and running after a major quake, and Ms Pannett says after last Monday’s 7.8 tremor it must be a priority now. Ms Pannett’s preference is that the funding comes from central Government but she is open to a public-private partnership. “Discussions with central Government must begin immediately,” Ms Pannett says. “The Wellington Council simply doesn’t have the funding, and will now need to look to other options.” Documents provided by Wellington Water to Wellington City councillors in 2012 estimate getting water reconnected following a break in the bulk supply lines could take Read More …

SCOOP – Wellington Airport workers kept “in the dark”

Originally posted on Scoop Press Release – Public Service Association Wellington Airport managers must front up to serious questions over its response to Monday mornings earthquake – and how it communicated with other agencies, the PSA says.Wellington Airport workers kept “in the dark” during quake aftermath Wellington Airport managers must front up to serious questions over its response to Monday morning’s earthquake – and how it communicated with other agencies, the PSA says. PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says around a dozen staff from the Ministry of Primary Industries plus additional Customs and other workers were at the airport when the quake hit. “We have spoken to our members at Wellington airport and they are gravely concerned at what happened on Monday,” Mr Barclay says. “Our members have told us they are not well briefed on emergency procedures or evacuation plans. “This is a serious concern, especially considering Wellington Airport sits just 2 kilometres from a fault line.” Virgin’s flight VA108 from Brisbane landed 20 minutes after the first quake and MPI and Customs staff processed passengers and cargo with little information about their own safety. Mr Barclay says MPI staff stayed on duty after the tsunami warning was issued, Read More …

RE-BLOG WEREWOLF: SAFE LANDINGS

Wellington Airport’s runway extension faces another legal challenge, on safety grounds by Gordon Campbell, October 19, 2016. Link here. If the $300 million runway addition planned for Wellington Airport proceeds, it will have a major impact on the marine environment at both ends of the 355 metre extension, and particularly so at the Cook Strait end. Besides the permanent effect on tidal patterns along the south coast, people living adjacent to the airport will be affected by the noise, dust and truck movements during the construction phase of the project. A few weeks ago, these and other aspects of the runway extension were canvassed within Wellington Regional Council reports that were released right on the eve of the recent local body elections. The suggested steps to mitigate the effects – around Moa Point for instance – will inevitably add to the cost of the runway extension, although by how much will depend on what mitigation steps are eventually deemed to be essential by the Environment Court, which will rule on the environmental consent application in early 2017. Wellington Airport is two thirds owned by the NZX listed company Infratil, and the remaining third is owned by Wellington City Council. Infratil Read More …

Wellington runway extension plan ‘implausible at best’

Original article on scoop.co.nz By Pattrick Smellie Aug. 15 (BusinessDesk) – Wellington’s airport runway extension initiative fails on the grounds that lower North Island and South Island travellers are already flying to long-haul destinations through Auckland or Christchurch and the region is not a magnet for tourists, who are more likely to favour Auckland and Queenstown as an arrival point. That’s the conclusion of a study commissioned by the lobby group for international airlines, including Air New Zealand, lodged in opposition to Wellington International Airport’s application for a resource consent to lengthen the capital city’s runway by 350 metres. The new study, by Australian-based Ailevon Pacific Aviation Consultants for the Board of Airline Representatives in New Zealand, said the likelihood of airlines establishing new long-haul services to the capital is “extremely remote, implausible at best”. It contests the findings of a study by rival aviation industry consultants, InterVistas, which APAC said has over-estimated demand for long-haul services to and from Wellington, which it said has not benefitted from the boom in international tourism that has boosted arrivals, particularly to Auckland and Queenstown, in recent years. “Visitor demand growth from long-haul markets to Wellington has lagged not only the New Zealand Read More …

PILOTS OUTLINE SAFETY FEARS FOR WELLINGTON AIRPORT’S RUNWAY EXTENSION

Link to Radio NZ article here Thanks to the Pilots Association for caring about the travelling public’s safety – because Wellington International Airport Ltd (WIAL) seem to be happy with ‘making do’. The Association’s President Tim Robinson said in their submission on the runway extension that his members had the most to gain from the extension but was opposed to it unless it included a Runway End Safety Area (RESA) of 240 metres.   This is the minimum expected by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and New Zealand’s own Civil Aviation Authority – organisations that presumably know a thing or two about airport safety. What’s more, they don’t have a vested interest in the airport, unlike WIAL who stands to gain A LOT from increased landing charges that will be passed on to all of us, the travelling public. As international aviation safety expert, Brian Greeves has said when acknowledging the cost of installing a 240 metre RESA, “the financial losses if just one Boeing 777 or Airbus 330 aircraft were to overrun the runway and 90 metre RESA with substantial fatalities, would more than outweigh the construction cost, without taking into account the human cost”.  On top of this, Read More …

BLOG: MORE AND MORE WELLINGTONIANS ARE BECOMING CONCERNED ABOUT THE PROPOSED AIRPORT EXTENSION

Opposition to the proposed runway extension is growing if attendance at the recent Guardians of the Bays information evening is anything to go by. A diverse range of groups, from business, community, recreational and environmental organisations are asking questions to peel away the public relations spin around the ill-conceived, expensive airport extension proposal. Groups as diverse as Forest & Bird; various Residents’ Associations; Wellington businesses; Save the Basin; the Surfbreak Protection Society; Hue te Taka Society; OraTaiao: The NZ Climate & Health Council; the Wellington Underwater Club; 350.org and the Green Party, to name a few, were represented at last week’s meeting. It quickly became clear that everyone present was deeply concerned at the spin being put out by the airport company, and the potential cost it will have to ratepayers and taxpayers, and of course to the beautiful Wellington south coast. The meeting was MCed by Bishop Richard Randerson, who has national standing for his work in faith-based and place-based communities. He made it clear that an airport extension does not make Wellington more progressive, particularly when the ratepayers and taxpayers are being asked to subsidise one of New Zealand’s wealthiest companies. Dr Sea Rotmann, co-Chair of the Guardians Read More …