Queenstown Airport closes early due to sick ATC

Image Source: Newshub.co.nz

New Zealand’s fourth largest airport had to close early on Friday due to a lack of Air Traffic Controllers.

Airways New Zealand, said that due to controllers calling in sick, they did not have enough controllers to provide ATC services past 7:30pm local time – 1 hour and 50 minutes earlier than normal. Airways said the tower would reopen at 6:10am Saturday.

As a result Air New Zealand bought forward 3 domestic flights, while Jetstar cancelled 2 domestic and 2 Tran-Tasman flights.

Complete Airways statement in full:

“Airways regrets that due to unforeseen staff sickness we do not have sufficient air traffic control cover to safely operate the Queenstown tower this evening. As a result, the air traffic control service provided to Queenstown Airport will be unavailable from 7.30pm – 1 hour and 50 minutes earlier than scheduled.

“Approximately six flights are being rescheduled and airlines are currently making other arrangements for their customers on these flights. If you are scheduled to fly in or out of Queenstown from 7:30pm this evening, please contact your airline for instructions.

“Airways has worked through all options to provide cover as normal, and has worked with airlines to investigate whether service could be retained. However we have not been able to find a suitable and safe solution for the travelling public.

“We are continuing to work closely with Queenstown Airport, airlines and other affected customers. Queenstown Airport terminal will remain open as normal until 10pm.

“Queenstown air traffic control tower will re-open as scheduled at 6.10am tomorrow, Saturday 13 April, with no forecast gaps in coverage.

“Airways apologises to all affected travellers for the disruption.”