The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has received queries in relation to periodic temporary closures at Kapiti Coast Airport (Paraparaumu aerodrome NZPP).
The current situation of periodic temporary closures (rolling closures due to Airways staff shortages through to 1 February 2021) of NZPP is a result of Kapiti Coast Airport exercising its right to operate, or not operate, the airport runway as determined by its own risk acceptance thresholds and in accordance with its operational conditions of use.
Kapiti Coast Airport, as the owner of the risk, has chosen not to explore operating under a contingency arrangement for the same reasons. The rolling closures have been communicated to stakeholders in a timely manner with the airport company providing up to 50+ days’ notice.
CAA expects all pilots, commercial or recreational, to conduct appropriate flight planning and give due consideration to appropriate decision making in the interests of safety as the situation dictates. The decision by Kapiti Coast Airport to implement periodic closures based on its own risk tolerances will necessarily require recreational pilots and commercial pilots to review and amend their flight planning accordingly as is their responsibility under the applicable Civil Aviation Rules.
The AFIS at NZPP has previously demonstrated it is able to provide an acceptable level of service that maintains a safe operating environment for aircraft type with differing levels of performance using NZPP during peak traffic periods. These aircraft type include those currently operated commercially and aircraft flown recreationally by the general aviation community.
Throughout the period of the rolling closures, CAA has asked Kapiti Coast Airport to continue monitoring radio broadcasts, movement numbers, movement peaks and patterns, along with AFIS workload to ensure a safe operating environment is facilitated for and maintained at NZPP.
CAA is acutely aware that in order to achieve an integrated, safe, responsive, and sustainable system, participants need to work together to consult, coordinate and cooperate. This requirement is reiterated in health and safety legislation. Our system cannot function without cooperation between participants – this includes safety management on and in the immediate vicinity of an aerodrome being a joint responsibility.
CAA encourages all participants to have ongoing dialogue. As the regulator we can provide advice and assistance to participants in meeting the requirements in their exposition, under the rules and, in accordance with health and safety legislation, but it is not appropriate for CAA to be seen to be influencing the risk acceptance thresholds of a participant.