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Airways Corporation Should Stick To Its Knitting

MEDIA RELEASE

9 October 2000

For immediate release

AIRWAYS CORPORATION SHOULD STICK TO ITS KNITTING AND NOT “SPIN” INACCURACIES

“The difficulties experienced in the weekend, for flights to and from Australia, would have been avoided if Airways Corporation had remain totally committed to carrying out its core activity of ensuring safe, uninterrupted travel for aircraft passengers, said New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.

It also wont do, he said, to blame equipment which is in no way related to the fault, in order to take the heat off international interest. This was yet another OCS problem, pure and simple, and it does the management no credit to blame non-associated computer hardware in Christchurch.

“It is an outrage that at a time when New Zealand should be endeavouring to provide and maintain the best, and most reliable air traffic control systems available, its senior management team are permanently resident in other parts of the world.

“Trying to buy into international businesses, at the same time as their domestic based services is showing such signs of strain, is not in the best interests of our air travellers, and neither is it in New Zealand’s best economic interest. There is a critical shortage of air traffic controllers, because so many of these highly trained employees have been made redundant, and indicates a crisis within senior management, said Mr Peters.

Airways Corporation, which controls air traffic control in New Zealand and the Pacific, has, in the past, been heavily criticised by Mr Peters for having wasted millions of dollars of taxpayers’ funds, pursuing international contracts.

The Oceanic Control System (OCS), which controls international flights in the Pacific Region, is allegedly the system that convinced Lockheed Martin to join with Airways to create a new air traffic control system about to commence bidding for air traffic services in the UK.

“OCS has been dogged by problems for a long time and its reliability has proven once again, to be to less than adequate. It is overspent by $millions, and is years behind schedule. I have repeatedly warned the Government, that New Zealand taxpayers must not be held liable in the event OCS is proven to have become unreliable, or unsafe, or from any other form of action arising out of the non performance of Airways, its systems, or its management,” Mr Peters said.

ENDS

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