Daily flights to Auckland from Kapiti

Daily flights to Auckland from Kapiti are unlikely to start in February as planned, as safety systems are updated at Paraparaumu Airport to comply with a Civil Aviation Authority directive.Paraparaumu Airport had applied for mandatory transponder use down to ground level with the CAA, instead of the usual 1000 feet, and had hoped that would be enough to satisfy safety standards, said chief executive Steve Booten.However, he said this may have prompted the CAA to investigate the safety systems at Kapiti further, leading the authority to recommend a manned control tower instead.Daily Air New Zealand flights to Auckland via a subsidiary, Air Nelson, were hoped to get under way in February, but Mr Booten said that may not happen now.It is not impossible, but it’s unlikely.
The recommendation comes after recent accidents involving small planes in Kapiti in 2008, and in the Manawatu last month.Mr Booten said he understood the safety aspect of the directive, but said the cost of compliance would be significant.We’re still trying to understand what the costs will be.We have the tower but we don’t have the equipment.There’s quite a substantial set-up cost.He said additional staff would also be needed.It’s not one person, it’s four. Two shifts of two people .It becomes very, very costly.However, Mr Booten was still confident flights to Auckland would be under way.We’ll just have to go through the process, and I think it will delay commercial flights, but we’ll get there.It’s just another hurdle  it’s a big hurdle  but then what value do you put on safety?Kapiti Aero Club president Graeme Barrell said it was “more than likely” some of the additional costs would filter down to users, but said airport safety was crucial.

Fundamentally, anything that would improve safety standards is of very significant interest to us.We place huge significance on safety.Mr Barrell said regardless of the CAA’s decision, the aero club would remain at the airport.
We’re here to stay. We’re the Kapiti Aero Club and our future is in Kapiti.
A spokesman for the CAA said the authority would not comment on the matter as it was still being discussed.

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