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Flight attendants back pilots’ fight

12 August, 2016

Flight attendants back pilots’ fight for Wellington runway extension safety

The flight attendants unions, E tū and FARSA (Flight Attendants and Related Services Association) are backing airline pilots in their fight for changes to the proposed extension of Wellington Airport’s runway in the interest of safety.

The Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) is taking a case to the Court of Appeal, after it lost an earlier court challenge to the 90 meter safety buffer proposed for the end of the new runway.

In its submission on the resource consent sought for the extension, ALPA argues for a 240-meter safety zone.

As an alternative, it proposes a safety system known as an Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS), comprising crushable cellular material which would be installed in the safety buffer to slow down an aircraft in an emergency.

E tū Aviation organiser, Kelvin Ellis says the unions trust the pilots’ judgement on this issue.

“Pilots understand the safety issues involved,” he says.

“They are among the world’s most trusted professionals. We trust them with our lives every day, as well as the lives of the passengers entrusted to us.

“We believe the safety of all crew and passengers is paramount, and we support their concerns over this proposed runway extension.”

He says it’s hard enough reassuring the often high value passengers flying into Wellington Airport which is acknowledged as challenging, without knowing standard operational safety provisions could be compromised by this project.

“All aviation workers, and passengers need to know that minimum standards are exceeded when it comes to their safety and the reputation of the industry.”


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