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ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT: West Auckland Airport generates employment for many people, both at the airport and in the surrounding area with local businesses providing services to the airport and the students, tourists and 'watchers' who come to train, fly or skydive. The airport has a policy of using local businesses whenever possible and makes use of the services of these on a regular basis for Vehicles, Fuel, Electrical, Plumbing, Drainage, Earthmoving, Stormwater maintenance, Building Maintenance, Supply of Materials, Cleaning, Transport and General supplies.
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. In conjunction with Auckland Council the Airport has researched and developed effective non-chemical control of the invasive 'Alligator Weed' in ditches around the airport, and this is likely to be rolled out by Auck Council to other properties on the Kaipara Harbour and its rivers. The Airport has also developed non-lethal bird control measures that have proved highly effective and have been taken up by other airports in NZ and Australia.
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 at West Auckland Parakai uses low-emission aircraft running on lead-free fuel, as used in motor vehicles. These produce less than half the carbon emissions of the traditional Cessna or Piper training aircraft which require leaded AvGas. The airport will move to zero-emission aircraft as soon as that is practical. Skydivers are lifted by the gas turbine powered PAC750XL with a (geared) slow turning propellor, which uses low sulphur and lead free JetA1 fuel with less flights and a lower emission level per passenger than smaller skydive aircraft.
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, away from the towns of Parakai and Helensville.
Pilots who are flying repeated operations, such as Skydiving, 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 which greatly reduces 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.
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 with trains at various times of the day and night.
It is the policy of the Airport to reduce its noise profile as much as practicable. Hence the 'Aircraft' and 'Flight Path' 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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