NZALPA's 2018 Conference is upon us and we͛re looking forward to welcoming our members from all around New Zealand to Auckland this month.
We have invited the Transport Minister responsible for aviation to deliver the keynote address. Through this speech and follow up questions we hope to get insights into a number of key issues facing our members. These include: Government strategy to address pilot supply issues (including working with industry, government and tertiary education providers to support training accessibility, not adding the profession to an immigration 'skills shortage' list); changes in the Civil Aviation Authority regulatory environment; RPAS/drone legislation and the current view of registration; an update on NZALPA's call for prohibition on hand-held lasers given the recent and ongoing, attacks on aircraft around New Zealand airports; the Government's comfort with the roll out of major technology changes and non-staffed remote digital towers by Airways.
NZALPA's internal discussions at Conference will centre on the report and recommendations of the Structural Review Working Party. There will also be a detailed review of the current membership categories within the Association and whether this can be broadened to reflect the rapidly changing make-up of the industry and the stakeholders within it – and those that have common interests with NZALPA.
Another exciting development is that NZALPA is to establish a new National Pilot Council representing full members who are currently unrepresented in NZALPA's council structure. This will currently relate solely to General Aviation pilots and has been the subject of discussion in the Structural Review Working Party and is a clear goal of the NZALPA strategic plan.
From a governance perspective, 2018 will be one of the most important Conferences for a number of years.
Meanwhile it's been another significant month in the history of our Association. On May 16 ratification came into effect of the successfully negotiated Air New Zealand Jet Collective Employment Agreement (Agreement).
This Agreement sets in place a nine-year strategic partnership between NZALPA and Air New Zealand where both parties have undertaken to work together constructively and collaboratively. This will allow Air New Zealand to undertake both sustainable growth and maintain a stable co-operative relationship with NZALPA. This will provide real benefits for the Company, our pilot members and the Association as whole, in areas such as High Performance Engagement and career path development for our Air New Zealand Group members.
We will now move our bargaining focus to our Jetconnect members. Their Council and negotiation team are working hard alongside advocate Mark Dignan and the membership to establish an enhanced, solid contract that will allow Jetconnect to operate a sustainable, long term business with the support of NZALPA and our Jetconnect pilots. We will be following their progress carefully.
You will also read more in this issue about our Air Traffic Controllers' (ATCs) dignified and professional presentations at Parliament to the Education and Workplace Select Committee on the Government's Employment Relations Amendment Act. NZALPA's oral submissions focused on the changes to the 90 day trial period, particularly in regard to our General Aviation members, and the need for legislated meal and rest breaks for the over 300 New Zealand ATCs. It was an honour to be part of the delegation to Parliament with my ATC colleagues and to work and speak alongside them
to address what became one of the leading media stories of the day – even the day before the Government's first Budget. I would like to thank the indefatigable work of Kelvin Vercoe, Scotty Herbert, Jeremy Thompson, Greg Okeroa, Adam Nicholson and those members who came from around the country in their own time to support their colleagues as they addressed a formidable cross-party Select Committee.
Following the Supreme Court decision late last year in regard to runway safety length for a proposed extension to the Wellington runway, NZALPA was delighted to be invited by the Wellington International Airport Limited (WIAL) to provide input into the development of an alternative engineered materials arrestor system or EMAS, as a solution to provide the 240m RESA equivalency NZALPA called for through our successful court process and earlier submissions.
With increased calls for improved drone/RPAS regulation, there is now global impetus to have all drones heavier than 250 grams registered. New Zealand stakeholders across the aviation sector are now getting behind this recommendation and NZALPA has been actively leading this charge. Collaboration is being sought with the UAV industry and other aviation stakeholders to develop RPAS rules to be 'fit for purpose'. Better education programs for all operators is sorely needed - especially recreational and tourist users as it is often their activities that are causing the greatest concern and disruption.
At NZALPA HQ, we're looking at extending the office space to include the northern half of the lower floor of NZALPA House. The Board will now enter discussion with the Contingency Fund Trust to finalise the details. This need for greater space is a reflection on the significant growth in member numbers and workload of the Association over the last two-three years. Our success has driven the need for more utilisation of our building including a better office space for our staff and meeting rooms for our representatives. I look forward to catching up with you all at Conference this month.