Airports Maintain Lifeline Operations
New Zealand’s airports are operating as lifeline utilities as the country continues life under Alert Level 4 movement restrictions.
21 of New Zealand’s airports are classified as lifeline utilities under the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act. These airports have to maintain their airport facilities for use in a state of emergency. They link with regional emergency operational centres as key strategic lifeline assets.
Smaller airports not legislated as lifelines are operating in ‘hibernation’ – maintaining their facilities ready for essential services when needed, and keeping their core capabilities intact for when travel restrictions are lifted.
Aviation operations have changed to catering for reduced domestic flight schedules for essential services personnel and freight, alongside hospital patient transfer flights.
“Our airports are maintaining air connectivity across the country but it is certainly not business as usual,” says Kevin Ward, the chief executive of New Zealand’s association for airports (NZ Airports).
Mr Ward says lifeline utility airports have to ensure they are able to function to the fullest possible extent, even though this may be at a reduced level, during and after an emergency. For airports, this includes continuing to meet safety and regulatory requirements.
“Health and safety is the top priority in aviation, just as it always has been. Communities can be assured that airports are playing their part in keeping air links in place for essential services and emergency flights,” Mr Ward says.