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Virtual ATC experience for Papua New Guinea students in NZ

Virtual ATC experience for PNG students in New Zealand

Airways New Zealand’s internationally recognised air traffic control training programme continues to attract students from around the globe - with the latest graduates from Papua New Guinea now back home to start their on-the-job training.

The four PNG students recently spent eight weeks in Christchurch at Airways’ purpose-built ATC training facility, undertaking aerodrome control training in the Total Control air traffic control simulator which gives a full 360° view of the simulated airfield.

This leading-edge ATC training technology, developed by Airways in conjunction with Animation Research Ltd, provided the PNG students with a highly realistic training experience in one of the most sophisticated ATC training facilities in the world.

“It was a total immersion experience for them, unlike anything they had experienced before,” says Alan Gilchrist, Airways Total Control ATC instructor. “They were able to train in an environment as close to the real thing as possible, and the students relished the opportunity.”

Nitai Robertson, Kulynne Isikel, Stephen Fred and Rahmat Ruambil were selected to attend aerodrome control training at Airways in Christchurch, following their recruitment into the Papua New Guinea Air Services Ltd Air Traffic Control Cadet Scheme.

During their eight weeks in Christchurch, the PNGASL students were also able to improve their English language skills and immerse themselves in the New Zealand culture.

Airways Training Centre Manager Mary-Anne Sievers says the ICAO052 Aerodrome Control Course is intensive, with a demanding workload – and the students met the challenges with an enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

“They have gained maximum benefit from international best practice air traffic control training, using cutting-edge training technology based here in New Zealand. The students were a pleasure to train and we look forward to working with PNGASL students again in the future,” Mrs Sievers says.

PNGASL Managing Director Captain Ted Pakii says the organisation is proud of the students’ achievements in New Zealand.

“Their success in passing the course shows that we’re proceeding in the right direction in terms of recruiting the right calibre of professionals with the right attitude and knowledge base,” Captain Pakii says.

The PNGASL ATC cadet scheme is part of a wider initiative by the organisation to enhance its infrastructure and capabilities to provide safe, efficient and seamless air traffic services comparable with the rest of the world.

PNGASL provides air navigation services to all domestic and international aircraft in PNG airspace, and operates six air traffic control centres at airports throughout the country.

The PNG students who graduated in New Zealand are now working on-the-job to gain their ATC Licence and Aerodrome Rating.

About Airways
• Airways is a world-leading commercial Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), and operates in New Zealand as a State-Owned Enterprise (SOE).
• We look after key aviation infrastructure around New Zealand and manage the more than 1 million traffic movements per year into and around New Zealand’s 30 million sq km of airspace.
• Airways delivers air traffic control and engineering training, and provides air traffic management and navigation services and consultancy in more than 65 countries.
• For more information about Airways please visit


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