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Topic # 180582 14-Sep-2015 15:09
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Flying out of Nelson today.  Auckland airport was closed, and almost every flight from Nelson up to and including 8:45am.  Not just flights to Auckland but flights to Christchurch and Wellington were also indirectly affected by the Auckland closure.

AirNZ seem to have very low resilience in their regional network.





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  Reply # 1387270 14-Sep-2015 15:23
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What do you propose they do about it?




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  Reply # 1387271 14-Sep-2015 15:25
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We had fog this morning up here





 

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  Reply # 1387272 14-Sep-2015 15:27
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Gotta have planes arrive to be able to send planes out.

They over-night at the major ports, and the early AM flights from major centres to smaller ports then allow the aircraft to be used on other hop-routes. These are planned days/weeks in advanced so anything that stops it from 1 port throws the days planned scheduling out at smaller airports.

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  Reply # 1387276 14-Sep-2015 15:39
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MikeAqua: Flying out of Nelson today.  Auckland airport was closed, and almost every flight from Nelson up to and including 8:45am.  Not just flights to Auckland but flights to Christchurch and Wellington were also indirectly affected by the Auckland closure.

AirNZ seem to have very low resilience in their regional network.


Just proves that without Auckland, the country would fall apart. ;)





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  Reply # 1387283 14-Sep-2015 15:55
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So should AirNZ position all their aircraft in Nelson each night just in case?
Be interested to see how Jetstar got on. Maybe their network is much more resilient? Have they even started flying out of Nelson yet?
To provide the type of resilience you suggest AirNZ would probably need three times as many aircraft, crews, etc. For the dozen times a year that one of the major centres is closed by weather do you really want airfares to triple?




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  Reply # 1387286 14-Sep-2015 16:03
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It would be cost prohibitive, I expect, to have aircraft standing by in minor airports all over "just in case" AKL is closed down due to fog (something that happens maybe 3-4 times a year for a few hours tops).

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  Reply # 1387293 14-Sep-2015 16:17
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Resilient is expensive.

How much more would you pay to be assured that your flight to Chch would go ahead even if another flight to AKL was cancelled/postponed? How much extra would other passengers pay?

I suspect/expect that AirNZ has done the sums and the answer is "Not Enough".


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  Reply # 1387295 14-Sep-2015 16:25
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Dingbatt: So should AirNZ position all their aircraft in Nelson each night just in case?
Be interested to see how Jetstar got on. Maybe their network is much more resilient? Have they even started flying out of Nelson yet?
To provide the type of resilience you suggest AirNZ would probably need three times as many aircraft, crews, etc. For the dozen times a year that one of the major centres is closed by weather do you really want airfares to triple?


The one they had here in wellington for the launch was just that. An advert. It flew back the next day. Services don't start for a few months yet. And I suspect it'd be less. 

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  Reply # 1387311 14-Sep-2015 16:54
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MikeAqua:
AirNZ seem to have very low resilience in their regional network.


I disagree entirely.

Should Air NZ have extra aircraft parked up at every airport just incase there is fog affecting inbound aircraft? That would be the solution, but I'm sure nobody wants to pay for it.







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  Reply # 1387603 15-Sep-2015 07:16
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There are a number of ATRs and Dash 8s that leave Auckland first thing in the morning heading for most regional ports, there are some aircraft overnighting in the regional ports, but with fog in Auckland they aren't allowed to leave. The priority for flights operating into and out of Auckland with fog means the turboprop aircraft are the lowest priority behind International arrivals, international departures, domestic jet arrivals that can fly the CAT II or III approach, domestic jet departures.

More often the flights that first arrive in the regions then depart for other airports. So if the first Dash 8 out of Auckland can't leave, then the flight to Christchurch can't leave. But Air NZ will try and change the schedule to make use of aircraft that aren't already allocated a daily schedule to run extra flights. Once the fog clears a new schedule for the individual aircraft is created trying to get as many people to where they want to go.

Quite often that means if you are flying say Napier to Christchurch, you may end up flying from Napier to Wellington and then on to Christchurch, yes you may be late, but at least you get to where you want to go. One advantage with Air NZ is that the major regional ports have links to more than one major airport so you could be routed around the country to get to where you want to go.

It will be interesting with Jetstar's new turboprop operation as they will face much the same restrictions as AirNZ will face but with less aircraft and almost exclusive Auckland focus there won't be many other options if your flight is cancelled due to fog in Auckland.

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  Reply # 1387606 15-Sep-2015 07:21
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Aircraft sitting at the regional airports are of little use without a pilot to fly it...




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  Reply # 1387613 15-Sep-2015 07:41
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empacher48:
It will be interesting with Jetstar's new turboprop operation as they will face much the same restrictions as AirNZ will face but with less aircraft and almost exclusive Auckland focus there won't be many other options if your flight is cancelled due to fog in Auckland.


This is no different to JQ now. Because the media now love JQ they no longer run the stories about people inconvenienced by JQ diversions.

Love or hate JQ, nobody can deny the fact that when you have such a small fleet with such high aircraft utilisation that when things go wrong it's not a great airline to be flying. They will regularly opt for alternate airports in NZ rather than circling (a classic example is Wellington last Wednesday evening when the southerly came through) because it's critical for them that planes be kept in the air due to their exceptionally high utilisation in NZ, AU and TT services. Using an example of last week if they've got aircraft flying a AKL-WLG return sector and that aircraft needs to be back in AKL for a late night departure to Aussie they're not going to circle for an hour over Kapiti island waiting for Wellington weather to clear because it will hold up later services. They'll just return to AKL and dump people there until the next morning or refund them and let them book Air NZ flights.



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  Reply # 1387693 15-Sep-2015 10:06
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Surely there are avionics and matching ground systems that allow planes to operate in fog?

Plenty of cities in the world get lots of fog and their airports are not closed every five minutes because of it.





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  Reply # 1387700 15-Sep-2015 10:17
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Geektastic: Surely there are avionics and matching ground systems that allow planes to operate in fog?

Plenty of cities in the world get lots of fog and their airports are not closed every five minutes because of it.


Of course there are, but they cost money, so only larger planes and airports have them.  We don't use big jumbo jets for our little domestic hops within NZ.




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  Reply # 1387705 15-Sep-2015 10:23
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There are more robust systems available, but the cost is massive. Last numbers I heard it that to have a more capable ground control system for Auckland (which is what causes the slow down for departures and arrivals) would cost $15 million a year to maintain. The ILS system they have in Auckland can allow arrivals down to a minimum of 0 feet cloud base and 75m visibility.

That minimum is dependant on the aircraft type, mainly the international jets, some domestic jets and no turboprops. Plus the crew and airline are trained and certified to that minimum, some airlines and aircraft maybe limited to 0 foot cloud base and 150m visibility or even more. That is dependant on the aircraft, the airline training system, the country the are based and their rules.

Most turboprops are limited to landing at 223 feet cloud base and 800 metres forward visibility. But departure is only 400 metres visibility with no cloud base. The reported vis yesterday was 300 metres so no turboprops could even move on the apron, let alone taxi for take off. That requirement is certification of the aircraft and in the civil aviation rules here in NZ. The limitation on forward visibility is all to do with engine failures on the take off roll, where such a problem is more of a handful in a turboprop than a jet.

In 90% of cases in NZ it doesn't matter how much money you spend to build a better ground control system, the aircraft themselves are not capable of using it, unless you happen to be on a domestic or international jet, which is about 40% of flights out of Auckland, the other 60% of flights will still be stuck parked at the terminal, or circling overhead waiting for conditions to improve.

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