View Full Version : Regional Airport Closures for meal breaks

24th Oct 2009, 09:15
In the latest NZAIP Supplement, the 5 regional towers which only have 1 ATCO per shift are to suspend ops for 40mins twice a day, but GIS, NPL & GIS advise that the airports are closed for ALL operations. WTF??

So GA aircraft can't even operate uncontrolled??? What's the difference between flying in or out before or after the towers comes on/off watch?? Why close the airport to ALL operations???

141/09 105 NZZC
New Plymouth ATC Meal Breaks and Aerodrome Closure
Effective: 1 NOV 09
Effective 1 NOV 09 (0910311100 UTC) Airways New Zealand Limited has advised that aerodrome control, approach control and flight information services provided by New Plymouth Tower within the New Plymouth CTR/D and New Plymouth CTA/D will not be available during normal hours of service for two periods of 40 minutes each. Normal hours of service for New Plymouth Tower are published in AIP SUP 2/09.

Meal breaks will be taken as follows: 1030 to 1110, and 1520 to 1600.

Any changes to hours of service and/or meal break times will be notified by
NOTAM. When ATC is off watch, an off-watch message will be broadcast on the New Plymouth ATIS. As a result New Plymouth Airport has advised that they will be closed for all operations except Emergency flights during the notified meal break periods.



24th Oct 2009, 11:46
Thoughts? Yeah, Bananna Republic comes to mind!

24th Oct 2009, 18:40
Didnt they get around this problem a few months ago when Air New Zealand made a huge kickup about it

24th Oct 2009, 18:58
If the airports are closed for ALL operations, it is the airport company's decision that has required this - an over reaction IMHO.:confused:

And the solution to the problem came about through some hard work by our NZALPA representatives (thanx JD, JT, et al) and some momentary sanity from Aunty Airways....nothing to do with the bleeting from AirNZ!! Controllers didn't want the aerodromes to close any more than anyone else, but controllers did want to comply with legislation that applies to all employees, rather than waste precious time and effort on exploring ways to avoid compliance!:ugh:

conflict alert
24th Oct 2009, 19:25
saw some notams the other day canceling some of those supps. can't remember which aerodromes off the top of my head.

25th Oct 2009, 00:07
Could they not have some one controlling Light GA craft, from a remote station while local is on a break

Look at Ardmore its not controlled at all, personally I think it should be!

Little NOTAR
25th Oct 2009, 06:45
Thoughts???? Well as far as I know, which to be fair isn't much, these airports don't need ATC on watch to be considered open. You are free to come and go as you please. Any ATIS will tell you this.

chimbu warrior
25th Oct 2009, 08:46
I note that emergencies are excepted.

What does a pilot do if he suffers an emergency and needs to divert to the (affected) airport? Call McDonalds/Subway/Coffee shop or wherever the duty controller has gone for his break?

".....yeah just a mo, bro. I'm waitin' for my fries. Be with you in a jiff........."

Reminds me of when Air NZ F27 crews used to park the big bird at a country aerodrome and disappear into town for a liesurely lunch. Very quaint.

25th Oct 2009, 09:05
Hamilton Island tower (single ATCO, single shift) used to close for meal breaks, and during that time it reverted to CTAF procedures. It used to get quite confusing - the frequency used for CTAF procedures was different to the tower frequency, the ATIS is only broadcast on the VOR, the tower hours would change every time the airline schedules changed, at times there were two closures during day, and occasionally if a jet was running late the tower would stay open on very short notice. And the powers that be wondered why there were so many VCAs.

As of about a few months ago the tower hours changed to a continuous 0900 to 1515 local with no break for the ATCO. I understand that the ATCO can switch the radio through to the bathroom.

Worrals in the wilds
25th Oct 2009, 09:55
".....yeah just a mo, bro. I'm waitin' for my fries. Be with you in a jiff........."

I heard a similar tale about refuelling at Honiara in the evening. Apparently the one refueller there used to get bored and head into town for a few refreshing ales. A Russian crew I had contact with used to have to trawl through Honiara's night spots looking for the bugger so they could haul him out of the pub to refuel their scheduled aircraft.

Being Russians, they also found out where he lived so they could drag his carcass out of bed as required. After a few successful ventures, they hit a snag when he moved, and they broke into the house and dragged a complete stranger out of bed demanding in strong Ukraine accents that he come wid zem to ze airport. Poor bloke freaked out (as you would) and thought they were trying to kidnap him. After a certain amount of cross-cultural diplomacy they realized he wasn't the person they were looking for and had to start all over again :eek:.

26th Oct 2009, 01:35
Slight thread drift, but is does remind me, many moons ago, that the coffee shop at the original Intercontinental Hotel in Auckland closed for lunch ---- union rules, staff have to have lunch at lunchtime and all that!!

And when it was open, you could get a chocolate milkshake, or a malted milkshake, but a chocolate malted ---- no way, it wasn't on the menu, you understand. Just tip a spoon of malt in the chocolate, please ---- no chance, rules, jobsworth etc.

Now back to the subject, at least it is only for less than an hour, not most of the day, as aerodrome owners in several places in Australia are regularly closing runways, because they can extract more revenue from hiring the runway for filming Top Gear, Drag Racing ( of the auto kind, of course), advertising photo shoots etc.

The "legal" explanation by aerodrome owners as to why they, the owners, are under no obligation to make their runways generally available to aviation (despite the terms of various legislation that seems to most definitely suggest otherwise) are really quite fascinating, wonderful examples of why 95% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

Tootle pip!!

28th Oct 2009, 02:13
BNE ATC couldn't contact Nauru ATC one night. I received a telephone call at Nauru to drive round to the tower to see what was happening... controller was having a post coitus sleep with his girlfriend!!

29th Oct 2009, 07:50
Common sense seems to have gone out the window if these enforced breaks are true. When I worked in Gisborne many moons ago, we had significantly higher movement rates than the ones seen today and it was no problem taking "breaks". After a few weeks of working, you could generally feel when you could use the loo or nip off to the terminal for a feed and you'd just broadcast that the tower was off for a few minutes. Not a single problem in the 5 years I was there.

While it's true that there were the odd days when you worked a good 7 or 8 hours with little chance for a break, those days were few and far between. On most days, you had many chances for "breaks", albeit you were in the tower, enjoying the beautiful Gisborne weather and scenery.

I know, I'm an old dinosaur and we have to mollycoddle these youngsters. However,the travelling public will thank you for providing a good service (even if it isn't included in T & Cs,) rather than thinking of us as spoilt, overpaid government workers. My colleagues and I took real pride at going beyond what was expected back in the Ice Age.

Worrals in the wilds
29th Oct 2009, 10:07
My colleagues and I took real pride at going beyond what was expected back in the Ice Age.

Did the employer thank you for that, or at least not harrass you? The level of respect from management makes a hell of a difference to the amount of effort staff are willing to put in.

I've never worked for ASA but by the stories here and from people I know in the organization (quite a few) they are remarkably similar to my former department. By this I mean constant put downs and belittlement (what would you lot know? You just do the job, we're MANAGERS :ugh:), a lack of recognition (or even basic knowledge) of the jobs done by operational staff and a complete lack of empathy about problems they face. A few years of this will turn even the most motivated team player into a jobsworth.

I've seen this first hand, and fortunately had the opportunity to escape to a small company that treats its staff well. The outcome? Like you guys, almost all of us take 'real pride in going beyond what is expected', knowing that at the very least we will receive a 'thanks, great effort!'

That is not an attitude that can be extracted by force, but far too many modern managers forget that and then whimper about people sticking to their guns on entitlements and costing the company money.

30th Oct 2009, 09:40
I've never worked for ASA but by the stories...
Actually, the controllers this topic is concerning don't work for ASA, either.

I'd have to say that it seems the operational managers in Airways do express recognition of good work, in the main.

Dick N. Cider
30th Oct 2009, 20:58
But the issue here is not mollycoddling youngsters. It's simply trying to comply with national legislation.


rescue 1
30th Oct 2009, 22:04
Think changes to the legislation were being debated during the week in parliament. Not sure on the outcome though...