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.

Opening message from NZALPA President Tim Robinson

President Tim Robinson


One of the big drivers for me this year has been to develop and further embed our strategic goal of being the ‘Voice of Aviation’ in New Zealand. It’s essential that we get this right and continue to promote our messages which seek the highest standards of safety and pilot/air traffic control (ATC) professionalism. This will help us to further establish our place in the industry as a professional, credible and respected stakeholder in the rapidly developing and ever-changing New Zealand aviation industry.   

 We have achieved our strategy in a significant number of ways this year, by highlighting the following to the public and to the industry: 

The misuse of hand-held lasers is an incredibly dangerous when they are directed at aircraft or ATC facilities. We have presented our concerns within the media, and have sought a prohibition of all battery operated, high-powered lasers in the country with the Government. We have also supported strengthened penalties for the misuse of lasers, which the National Party opposition has promoted in a private member’s Bill recently drawn from the ballot in Parliament. 

We support the development of a strong safety case for RPAS/drones to be integrated into New Zealand airspace usage with responsible and well-designed rules and regulations – both for private and commercial operations. We have emphasised our support of the development of this new technology, but must see the current rules revised and updated to reflect the rapid growth of this technology. Alongside an improved rule set, we have called for compulsory user and aircraft registration, better user-education over the rules, and formal training and licencing for drone operators. 

We have given industry stakeholders a clear understanding that NZALPA is willing to work alongside all decision-makers in these areas so we can achieve comprehensive and collaborative solutions. We want to ensure drone operations and technology can develop and flourish in a safe and efficient manner. 

ATC rest and meal breaks are an important issue to NZALPA and we are striving to help provide the safest and most professional work environment for our hard-working Air Traffic Controllers, which will allow them to carry out their job with the highest standards of safety and efficiency. This year we made written and oral submissions to the Education and Workforce Select Committee to pursue meaningful amendments to the Employment Relations Amendment Act to recognise appropriate rest and meal breaks. This was primarily for our sole change tower air traffic controllers at regional control towers. Whilst the amendments continue to work through the Parliamentary process, we will do our upmost to deliver on changes that need to occur in the Act to see these measures put into place.

This month’s Uplink features an extensive report into pilot career progression in New Zealand. The report is a culmination of a survey and study into multiple facets of pilot career progression and has been conducted by NZALPA and Massey University School of Aviation. Captain David Griffin has co-authored the report on behalf of NZALPA. 

The report exposes many concerns surrounding employment opportunities for New Zealand trained residents, but also provides meaningful recommendations on how these concerns can be addressed and remedied. Many of the recommendations are already being researched or actioned by NZALPA alongside our industry partners and stakeholders. The Air New Zealand Career Pathways working group and the Qantas/JetStar cadet program are positive examples of the report’s recommendations being addressed in a meaningful way. 

Runway End Safety Areas (RESA) and the critical role they play in aviation safety within the airport environment has been at the forefront of our technical and legal teams’ watch list throughout 2018. We are in regular communication with the CAA and Wellington International Airport Ltd to try and develop an outcome for the planned Wellington runway extension that will meet all party’s needs, while maintaining the highest-level safety possible – in accordance with the recent Supreme Court judgment. Hopefully this outcome can be realised without the further need for litigation. 

Finally, the most pleasing aspect in our pursuit to become the ‘Voice of Aviation’ has been the steady improvement of relationships and interactions NZALPA leadership team continues to forge with employers, the Government, CAA, union partners, NZ aviation bodies, such as Aviation New Zealand, and the media. This aspect of our strategy is a vital piece of the overall jigsaw and without it the ability to get our messages across to the industry and public will always be limited. I look forward to further improving these relationships into the New Year and beyond. 

I wish all our members and industry partners a Merry Christmas and happy and safe New Year.

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