Airways New Zealand wins top global air traffic management award

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Copyright Neil Macbeth
(PHOTO: Neil Macbeth)

MRO DubaiAirways New Zealand has won the top prize and two category awards at the global Air Traffic Management Awards 2023 for its resilient new infrastructure and a world-leading trial to safely integrate drones into controlled airspace.

New Zealand’s air navigation service provider took out the Overall Excellence Award and the Resilience in Air Traffic Management Award for moving the nation’s air traffic management into two disaster-resilient buildings and onto a future-fit digital platform. It also won the Integration of Drones/Advanced Air Mobility Award for a groundbreaking trial led by Boeing subsidiary Wisk Aero to safely integrate an uncrewed aircraft into unsegregated controlled airspace, flying alongside regular aircraft.

The awards were presented at the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) Airspace World event in Geneva. The leading awards in the international air traffic management industry, they aim to encourage pioneering concepts and acknowledge significant achievements.

Airways Chief Executive James Young said: “We are excited and honoured by this recognition of the fantastic work being done across Airways. Our purpose is safe skies today and tomorrow, and we are committed to working with innovative partners here and internationally to support all airspace users in a way that is safe, sustainable and efficient. These projects show how our incredibly talented people work together across the organisation and the global industry, to ensure New Zealand is at the forefront of the evolution in aviation. I could not be more proud of our team.”

The Overall Excellence Award and the Resilience in Air Traffic Management Award recognise Airways for moving its surveillance operations into two new disaster-resilient centres in Christchurch and Auckland, and its domestic operations onto the new SkyLine-X air traffic management platform, which delivers the next generation of safety and efficiency features.

The Integration of Drones/Advanced Air Mobility Award recognises Airways’ role in a partnership led by Wisk Aero – the developer of a self-flying, all-electric air taxi – to establish a safe integration process for drone flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in unsegregated controlled airspace. Airways developed innovative operational concepts, processes, procedures and training to enable air traffic controllers to safely manage the uncrewed aircraft. The drone was also tracked by AirShare, the uncrewed traffic management (UTM) system developed by Airways International, the commercial arm of Airways.

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