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Eagle Air Welcomes Resolution of Taupo Issues

MEDIA RELEASE
March 25, 2005

Eagle Air Welcomes Resolution of Taupo Airport Issues

Eagle Air today advised that the conclusion of recent aeronautical studies at Taupo Airport could see the company increasing its daily services there.

General Manager of the Air New Zealand Link operator Eagle Air, Doug Roberts, said now that the uncertainty has been removed about operational issues, especially the threatened introduction of a new flight information service, Eagle will be looking to increase its services to Taupo to cater for increased demand.

Eagle currently operates twenty four return flights to Wellington and fourteen to Auckland each week from Taupo.

Mr Roberts said there has been almost three years of uncertainty at Taupo and he is pleased to see the issues have been resolved.

“A report released by Civil Aviation Authority Director John Jones, made a series of recommendations which were accepted by users. While an earlier draft report called for the re-establishment of a flight information service, this was not accepted by the Captain Jones. Having experienced such a system at Taupo previously, Mr Roberts believes this system actually impairs, not enhances safety in this environment.

“Legally, pilots cannot rely on the information provided by these systems and they were known to cause communication clutter between pilots. It is the pilot’s responsibility to maintain safety at all times – we, along with the other Taupo users provide a number of tools, some very sophisticated, such as collision avoidance warning systems on top of high standards of pilot training and selection.”

Mr Roberts said Eagle had been prepared to increase services to Taupo for some time but was not willing to do this if the safety risk was to increase due to a new flight information system that was “totally inappropriate” or if operating costs were increased without commensurate benefit to the public and the airline.

“We expect there will be a further review by CAA in two years to ensure all the remaining safety recommendations at Taupo have been implemented and are having the desired effect – from where we sit, rapid action has been taken and all airport users and the CAA have co-operated magnificently.”

……/Ends

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