Airport approach lights switch-off will not compromise safety - 31/08/2011The Wanganui Airport approach lights have been turned off indefinitely, but the lights are not vital to the airport’s operation and the decision will not affect safety.
“The approach lights, which are the red lights beyond each end of the main runway that point to the centreline, assist the pilot to make early visual contact with the runway,” Wanganui Airport Manager Allan MacGibbon said.
“Wanganui District Council wants to make the community aware of the change and reassure passengers and the public that there are no safety concerns as a result. However, it may slightly reduce the airport’s ability to handle flights in poor weather.”
The decision to turn off the lights was made by the Airways Corporation of New Zealand after discussion with Wanganui Airport management. Airways owns and operates the lights as part of their agreement to provide navigation services to Wanganui Airport, a service they provide to the majority of airports around New Zealand.
Airways has advised that there are electrical safety issues with the lights because of their age and state of repair.
The whole issue of levels of service and funding options for airport approach services, particularly at the smaller New Zealand airports, is being worked through with the New Zealand Airports Association, Airways Corporation and the operators. No final decisions will be made to upgrade or remove the approach lights until a national agreement is finalised.