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ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT: West Auckland Airport generates employment for around 80 people, 45 at the Airport plus a similar number in businesses in the surrounding area providing services to the airport and the students, tourists and 'watchers' who come to train, fly or skydive.
The businesses operating from the Airport actively co-operate with other local tourism and accommodation businesses to promote the area for the benefit of all. Any suggestions for joint marketing or transport etc to bring more economic activity and jobs into the area are welcomed.
PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT: It is the policy of West Auckland Airport Parakai to take all practicable steps to reduce the environmental impact of the airport, while recognising that airports are essential parts of the transport and tourism industries.
As an official NZ Aerodrome, the controlling body for the Airport is the NZ Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which carries out regular inspections and whose regulations define the operational conditions. Airspace over 2500ft in the area is under control of Airways Corporation 'Approach Control' for Auckland International Airport.
Pilot training and Adventure Tourism operators at West Auckland Parakai use various types of aircraft. Most Skydivers are lifted by the gas turbine powered PAC750XL with a (geared) slow turning propellor, which uses low sulphur and lead free JetA1 fuel.
Below 2500ft the circuit for approach to, and departure from the airport, is specified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Aircraft are required to circuit at 1000 ft altitude to the north, over the Kaipara Harbour and away from the towns of Parakai and Helensville.
Pilots who are flying repeated operations, such as Skydiving, Aerobatics, Training Flights and Scenic Flights, are required by the Airport management to follow noise reduction operations whenever safe to do so, and to vary the flight path as much as possible between flights.
Above 2500ft the airspace is under control of Airways Corporation's Air Traffic Control (ATC) 'Approach Control' for Auckland International Airport. Aircraft must obtain entry clearance from ATC to climb above 2500ft, and must follow the path specified.
Until July 2012, aircraft climbing into the controlled airspace were usually instructed by Air Traffic Control to remain within a small circle centered on the airport, which resulted in the skydiving planes having to spend a lot of time climbing over the Parakai / Helensville area. This created an undesirable concentration of aircraft noise, so the Airport management requested that a larger area be approved.
A meeting was held between the 'Auckland Approach' Air Traffic Controllers, the Skydive Operators and the Airport Management, and a 'Memorandum of Understanding' was agreed stating that:
Whenever possible, ATC will approve use of all the airspace to the West of a North-South line running through the Airport, so that aircraft will usually be able to climb out by a different route each time, returning to Parakai only for the parachute drop.
This has greatly reduced the noise impact on any one place on the ground.
All fuel, oil and aircraft waste is disposed of in accordance with environmental regulations, and recycled whenever possible.
Time of Day:
There are five airports in the Auckland Area: Auckland International, Whenuapai Airbase, Ardmore Airport, North Shore Airfield and West Auckland Airport Parakai.
West Auckland is the only one of these to restrict night operations to aircraft able to operate safely in low light conditions without ground lighting. These are typically aircraft operated by the Police, Military, Ambulance or Search & Rescue. The facility is available 24 / 7 / 365 for these services, with the Airport having asked the Military to limit non-urgent training to reasonable hours.
Aircraft operating from the Airport are required to use noise reduction operations whenever possible. However, all forms of transport inevitably create noise... such as the railway that runs past the Eastern end of the Airport and which has noisy trains in the middle of the night... presumably those who have purchased land near the railway have taken this into account before buying, and likewise they will have considered the existing aerodrome.
The Resource Management Act specifically excludes consideration of aircraft noise, but it is the policy of the Airport to reduce its noise profile as much as practicable. Hence the 'Aircraft', 'Flight Path', and 'Time of Day' policies above.
If you feel that a regulation has been breached, the Airport has a Complaints Procedure in place to investigate.
Any practical suggestions for further reducing the environmental impact of the airport would be welcomed, will be considered by the Airport Safety Committee and Operator's Committee, if necessary passed to the appropriate authorities for consideration, and adopted if approved.
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