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Airways Neglects Safety Recommendations

The New Zealand First Leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters, has accused the Airways Corporation of failing to act on the safety recommendations in the TAIC report on the fatal Dash 8 plane crash near Palmerston North in 1995.

The TAIC (Traffic Accident Investigation Commission) recommended that a MSAW (Minimum Safe Altitude Warning System) be added to the Air Traffic Control System.

(An MSAW is an extra safety system which tells Air Traffic Controllers when a plane is going too low and they can warn the pilot. It acts before the warning system on the aircraft.)

“In 1996 Airways Corporation told the TAIC it was already investigating the MSAW system and had asked the providers of the AIRCAT 2000 system to quote a price for the system and this was done. A MSAW system was available “off the shelf” at the time. (copy of authenticating documents attached)

“However, Airways Corporation did NOT go ahead then and has still not installed this safety system for reasons which have not been made public to this day.

“This inaction over safety measures for our traveling public should be a priority for a taxpayer owned organisation charged with ensuring the safety of our skies.

“We have Airways Corporation executives based overseas bidding for international air traffic safety business while they neglect to act on serious recommendations by air accident investigators at home.

“Why have they failed to put this MSAW system in place so many years after it was recommended? Many countries have installed them but New Zealand is paying only lip service to the idea through international forums.

“Airways Corporation is playing with peoples’ lives. We are in our sixth year since the Dash 8 crash and nothing has been done to install the MSAW system, and there is no time frame for the work to even start!

“This is intolerable in a country like New Zealand, with difficult terrain, and a sorry record of light aircraft accidents.

“The SOE Minister should be reminded that as shareholding Minister he is ultimately responsible for the performance of Airways Corporation.

“Last night he passed approval for Airways Corporation to chase air traffic safety business on the other side of the world but today he ignored the problem at home.

“The assurance he gave about the Lockheed Martin Skyline system having an embedded MSAW system is no assurance whatsoever because the system is still on paper and is not fully in service anywhere in the world.

“It is time that the Airways Corporation was told to concentrate on pressing matters within New Zealand instead of chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow overseas,” said Mr Peters.

Ends

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