Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

New Zealand News


A police search began in Christchurch recently after two planes were struck by lasers in just two days. Police say they received reports a light aircraft had been targeted by a high-powered laser, following a similar report the evening before. 

Officers had responded to the reports but those responsible had not been found, a police spokesman said.

"All reports of laser strikes are treated very seriously, due to the potential for serious injury and harm, and there are severe penalties.”

Asked for NZALPA’s view on the strikes, Senior Technical Officer Dave Reynolds outlined the dangers of lasers to aircraft in an interview with the national ZB Network. He reminded the public that the use of lasers is not a game and are incredibly dangerous.  As well as airline pilots, those operating in the agriculture, recreational and tourism and scenic flights industries were particularly vulnerable.

Take off, landing and approach were critical phases of flight, Reynolds said and that pilots rely on seeing runway outside and instruments inside to safely take off, fly and land the aircraft.  Not only could a laser strike at this time cause accidents, the pilot could also suffer head pain, short term blindness and even permanent eye damage. 

Dave Reynolds said that in the US perpetrators were routinely imprisoned for attacks, operating under a nil tolerance policy driven by their air safety regulator FAA.  NZALPA was also working with colleagues at IFALPA to promote serious fines and custodial sentences for perpetrators. 

For the first time last year, a local man was imprisoned following several laser strike incidents on incoming flights into Christchurch airport. 


Wellington Regional Councillor and former high profile MP Sue Kedgley has nominated, via NZALPA, the “pilots who fly hundreds of thousands of people safely into Wellington each year” for an annual community award as part of the prestigious “Wellingtonian of the Year Awards, known as “The Wellys”.   

In her nomination, Councillor Kedgley, a prominent supporter of NZALPA’s safety stance regarding the proposed Wellington Airport extension, described these pilots as “unsung heroes who deserve our gratitude and recognition, as without them Wellington would not be the thriving, cosmopolitan city and community it is today.

“(They) fulfil a vital community function as our city wouldn't function without them. Yet Wellington airport is renowned globally as a very challenging airport because of its short runway and frequent high winds, cross winds and turbulence. It requires great skill and experience to land an aircraft safely into Wellington airport, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for doing this safely and in frequently adverse conditions,” Councillor Kedgley said. 

The Wellys winners will be announced on December 6.   


National Business Review reported that factions of the aviation industry were calling on the minister in charge to step in on perceived mismanagement of the sector.

It said that the issues have arisen from the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) grounding of regional airline Sunair.

General Aviation Advocacy Group co-principal Brian Mackie said he is calling for a review into how the CAA operates, calling the Sunair suspension heavy handed.

Read more >


The New Zealand Herald’s Aviation, Tourism and Energy Writer Grant Bradley reported that cut-throat competition between trans-Tasman airlines has forced Emirates to axe its services from Auckland to Australia.

The airline says the route was no longer viable, partly because of the success of its non-stop flights to Dubai, but also because of the flood of competition during the past five years which had pulled down fares and airline yields. Both could rise following the Emirates announcement.

Emirates has flown Auckland-Australian routes since 2003 and until this year had grown quickly to at one stage having four A380 superjumbos in Auckland at one time each afternoon. Earlier this year it quit flying to Sydney and beyond from Auckland, and it will end its other trans-Tasman services next March.

Stuff later reported that although Emirates was pulling out of trans-Tasman flights, the airline could be adding more New Zealand to Dubai direct services.

Read the full NZ Herald story >

Read the full Stuff story >

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