Airways - Making your world possible

Performance Based Navigation

PBN procedures in New Zealand airspace are estimated to provide benefits of around $3.6 million per year, including more than $1 million in fuel savings for our airline customers.

Airways’ PBN procedures effectively redesign the airspace. They improve air traffic flow and efficiency, double airspace capacity, and vastly simplify controllers’ workloads. We were the first ANSP in the world to receive ICAO’s endorsement as an instrument procedure design organisation for Performance Based Navigation and conventional designs. By applying Required Navigation Performance Authorisation Required (RNP AR) procedures, Airways can equip aircraft to fly very precise paths with a high level of accuracy – improving both efficiency and safety. This system enables jet operations to continue in a range of weather conditions, and in some of the most challenging terrain in the world. Airline operators’ on-time performance has improved, and there have been significant reductions in holding delays, fuel burn, and CO2 emissions.

PBN flight paths

National implementation

Our $9 million programme of work to develop and deploy PBN procedures and technology into our airspace across 17 controlled aerodromes is nearing completion.

Airways is now introducing PBN procedures at other international airports throughout New Zealand. In addition to Queenstown, the system is now in place at Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland airports. 

In November 2018 we partnered with Christchurch Airport, the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ) and New Southern Sky (NSS) to complete a PBN flight path trial. Another trial commenced in Wellington in September 2018, in conjunction with our partners Wellington Airport, BARNZ and NSS. Trials of PBN flight paths help us to gather information about their environmental and efficiency benefits, and also to fully understand impacts on local residents. 

The operating benefits to our airline customers have been significant, through shortened tracks between departure point and destination. As a result, both passengers and airlines have saved valuable time and money.

A challenging airspace environment

In 2012 we introduced PBN procedures into one of the most difficult environments in the world.

Queenstown, New Zealand has a confronting combination of mountainous terrain, extreme weather, and a rapidly growing local tourism market. Our challenge was to deliver a much safer and more efficient Air Traffic Management system in this airspace, with no full surveillance available.

The results were outstanding. Queenstown Airport can now handle up to 12 aircraft per hour, compared to the previous five per hour in poor weather, in extremely mountainous terrain. 

All airlines operating in Queenstown are benefiting from dramatically reduced delays – down from around 40 hours per month to just over 5 hours per month.

The reworked RNP AR departures have provided a large increase in take–off payload.Airways can safely manage more than double the traffic with no requirement to tactically separate arrivals from departures.