CAA MET Team Changes


With effect from 1 June 2019 Paula Acethorp will be the new Chief Meteorological Officer at the CAA. Paula joined the CAA in August last year as CMO (designate) coming from the position of Aviation Weather Services Manager / VAAC Wellington Manager at MetService.

CMO Retires

Peter Lechner leaves the position of Chief Meteorological Officer after many years’ service in the CAA and previously at MetService, in operational, management, and meteorological related positions.

The Team

Peter Lechner and Keith Mackersy will continue to provide support to Paula as needed from time to time.

New Zealand MET Work

Longer International Aerodrome Forecasts

The first verification data on the trial 30hr TAF has been received from MetService. Analysis of the data is currently underway.

However, there has also been some new indications from airline users that a 3-hourly updated 24hr TAF is preferable to a 30hr TAF, so the review group (consisting of CAA, MetService and Air NZ) will also consider the feasibility of this approach, to ensure the best outcome for ultra-long haul flight planning.

If all parties are satisfied the trial has been successful, it is anticipated the new TAF content and/or issue frequency will be implemented for all International Aerodromes and RNZAF Base Ohakea during the second half of 2019.

Living with Volcanic Ash in New Zealand

This important handbook is being reviewed in light of changes in the domestic and international volcanic ash advisory systems. Version 14 should be completed and issued in mid-2019, once feedback from relevant parties is gained. The first issue was provided in 1996.

Living with volcanic ash - episodes in civil aviation [PDF 1.2 MB]

MetService MOU

A new Memorandum of Understanding has recently been finalised and been agreed between MetService and CAA. This document essentially sets out the current work and obligations of each organisation and as such defines the baseline provision of meteorological services to aviation including international, domestic and general aviation operations.

Global MET Work

Global (ICAO) Space Weather Systems

Work continues under Peter Lechner’s guidance to set up the operational schema for the conjoint provision of space weather information by the designated global providers:

  • United States
  • PECASUS consortium (European consortium led by Finland and with UK as back-up)
  • ACFJ consortium (Australia, Canada, France (Lead) and Japan)
  • Potentially in the future; a Russia/China consortium

The anticipated commencement date for services of 7 November 2019.

To ensure the New Zealand Aviation community is fully briefed on the Space Weather System and how they can make full use of the products that will be issued, planning for a New Zealand industry briefing is underway as part of the MET Symposium (19 September), including an expert presentation from the University of Otago.

For further information on ICAO Space Weather Advisories:

Manual on space weather information in support of international air navigation (PDF 1 MB)


The Asia Pacific VOLCEX Steering Group typically organises two regional volcanic ash exercises each year, on a rotational basis in the Asia Pacific Region.

New Zealand and Fiji conducted an exercise in early May 2019 “APAC VOLCEX 19/01”, simulating an eruption of Raoul Island, with ash to moving north into Fiji airspace and contaminating Nadi and Nausori International Aerodromes. It was a desk-top exercise, with participants from GNS Science, MetService, Fiji Meteorological Service, Airways, Fiji Airports Ltd, Air NZ, Virgin Australia and Fiji Airways, with Qantas and VAAC Darwin as observers. The initial review of the exercise shows that the volcanic ash warning system worked as expected, but has also highlighted areas where the different organisations can work together to improve the overall responses.

The Asia Pacific VOLCEX Steering Group will meet 20-21 June 2019 in Bangkok to review the results of the exercise and to plan future exercises.

Australian Aviation Industry Consultative Meeting

Paula Acethorp participated in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) industry meeting over 26-27 February 2019. This meeting is held bi-annually as a communication forum between the BoM, CASA, AirServices and the key airlines (Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin, Air NZ), with MetService and CAA NZ also attending when possible. It reviews progress on agreed actions and develops improvement and new product initiatives – most of which is quite relevant to New Zealand. The various Australian players also participate in the New Zealand MET Symposium held each year for similar purposes.

Posted 19 months ago