If you already know about New Southern Sky (NSS) and want specific information about the programme, or particular answers to particular questions, go to New Southern Sky(external link).

If you want a quick introduction to NSS, read on.


In recent years, demand for airspace has increased. At the same time, there’ve been significant technological advances in the management of that airspace, and in air navigation services.

NSS is a 10-year project to co-ordinate the various activities that New Zealand’s aviation-related agencies (such as Airways, the Ministry of Transport, and the NZ Defence Force) are carrying out in taking the country towards a much more tech-based future.

The programme is helping aviation participants make a safe, effective move to flying with the new technologies. It’s already delivering shorter journeys, improved safety, reduced fuel burn, and lower carbon emissions. Some highlights of those benefits over the next 20 years are:

  • Every year 2.2 million more passenger journeys are better protected by aircraft using approaches incorporating ‘vertical guidance’.
  • NZ$128 million in direct efficiency savings through shorter and more direct flight paths using GPS as a means of primary navigation.
  • Every year 4.8 million fewer kilograms of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere.
  • Nearly NZ$1 billion in wider economic benefit to the country.

Some details

The programme is co-ordinating change in the following areas:

Air navigation – getting from A to B more efficiently using satellites instead of ground-based radar

Surveillance – more accurately identifying who’s in the sky and where

Communications – advances in how aircraft talk to other aircraft and to air traffic control on the ground

Aeronautical information management – using technology to better manage information for pilots and other flight crew

Air traffic management – using technology to make safer and more efficient use of airspace, leading to a reduction and simplification of controlled airspace areas

Airspace design – better decisions about who is allowed to fly where

Aerodromes – technology will impact them all, whether they’re international airports or a strip of mowed grass

Meteorological services – improvements in the way weather information is provided to pilots


The New Southern Sky ‘partners’ are the CAA, Ministry of Transport, and Airways New Zealand. The programme’s working group is led by the Director of New Southern Sky, Steve Smyth, and includes representatives from throughout civil aviation and the New Zealand Defence Force.

Contact: steve.smyth@caa.govt.nz

More info: New Southern Sky(external link)