Change in certain departure flight routes over Wellington

20 Dec 2022

On 1 December 2022 a new system called the Wellington Divergent Missed Approach Protection System (DMAPs) was introduced by Airways, New Zealand's air navigation service provider. This has meant a change in flight paths for some aircraft departing from Wellington Airport.

The system introduces a greater divergence between departure aircraft flight paths, and arrival go-around/missed approach flightpaths when the initial approach to land is abandoned for safety reasons.

This enables gaps between arrivals to be reduced, while still enabling a departure to safely get airborne between arrivals - without the need for large passenger aircraft to manoeuvre visually in the event of a go-around or missed approach.

In practice this increases capacity for arrivals and reduces holding time in the air, resulting in reduced flight times, fuel burn and CO2 emissions.

While this is good news from an emissions perspective, and for travellers whose flight times are reduced, we appreciate that the change in flight departure paths has been noticed by some residents in the Johnsonville/Khandallah area. Aircraft are not present in areas that they have not been before, but some people will notice fewer flights while others notice more.

There have been no changes to arrival paths over the Khandallah and Johnsonville areas for at least three years, and the new DMAPs procedures do not mean arriving or departing aircraft are flying at lower altitudes over the northern suburbs.

This is an Airways programme, but Wellington Airport approved the new system given the benefits for safety, efficiency/fuel use and sustainability.

A preliminary noise study was carried out which showed that while the change would be noticeable to some residents, it would be within reasonable limits. A noise monitoring report on the impacts of the change is available here.

Since then, Airways and Wellington Airport met with community representatives in March and are now working with them on this issue. In 2023 four extra noise monitors were installed in the area to provide more detailed information. Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback so far.

More information about how Wellington Airport manages noise issues is available here.

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