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Airports must meet international safety standards

16 July 2000

Airports must meet international safety standards

Green Party aviation spokesperson Sue Kedgley says Aviation Minister Mark Gosche must take action to ensure that airports meet new international safety standards.

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards require a minimum run off area of 90 metres at the end of each airport runway. Runway ends at both Wellington and Queenstown are too short, and Christchurch and Auckland also fail the safety standards.

"Mr Gosche must direct the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that all airports in New Zealand comply with international safety standards within a set time frame," Ms Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley said that Wellington airport had to be the first priority, because its high volume traffic and prevailing weather conditions increased the chance of an accident.

"In addition, steep drops and hazards at both ends of the runway make it even more dangerous in the event that a plane overshoots the runway.

"Despite repeated calls over the past decade by airline pilots, the Wellington City Council and others, Wellington airport has dragged its feet and procrastinated over plans to remove the hazards at both its runway safety ends.

"Wellington airport has demonstrated the potential conflict of interest between commercial and safety goals by its willingness to spend millions upgrading the airport facilities while stubbornly refusing to spend $20 million on improving the airport's safety," she said.

"The government says transport safety is one of its top priorities.There's no point spending millions of dollars improving safety on the roads, if the government is not also committed to improving the safety of airports which do not meet international safety standards."

Sue Kedgley MP: 025 270 9088 Gina Dempster, Press secretary: 04 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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