Welcome – SMART Approaches

Flight paths in Auckland

More than 420 flights land and take off at Auckland Airport every day. As a result, most areas of Auckland experience overflight by arriving and/or departing aircraft.

Aircraft predominantly land at Auckland Airport from the north-east and depart to the south-west. The diagram below shows these aircraft movements over two typical weeks at the airport in September 2011, prior to the SMART flight path trial.

SMART Approaches flight path trial

Airways New Zealand, Auckland Airport and the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ) have been working together to trial new flight paths, called SMART Approaches, into Auckland Airport.

The SMART Approaches use satellite-based navigation and enable aircraft to burn less fuel, emit less carbon dioxide and fly more quietly. They contribute to international aviation carbon dioxide-emission reduction proposals and are aligned with the Government’s National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan.

The SMART Approaches help Auckland to be better connected to the rest of New Zealand and the world. They are in line with global developments and safely enable the growth of Auckland Airport, which is vital to New Zealand’s economy.
Three new flight approaches to Auckland Airport (two from the north and one from the south) were trialled and subjected to rigorous analysis and noise measurement.


Two SMART Approaches to be implemented from 28 May 2015

Auckland Airport, the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ) and Airways New Zealand have announced that two new SMART satellite-guided flight paths to Auckland Airport from the North will come into permanent operation from 28 May 2015.

The decision to implement the two satellite-guided flight paths was publicly announced in December last year, following a trial and public consultation process. The new flight paths being implemented were modified as a result of feedback from the trial and public consultation to reduce aircraft noise, use even less fuel and deliver benefits for the environment. Each of these flight paths can be used between 7am and 10pm by up to 10 aircraft per day.

Satellite guidance enables aircraft to fly an improved flight path and these two new flight paths are higher in places, and their approach curves wider, than the paths used in the trial. This means that aircraft can reduce the use of thrust and speed brakes, making them quieter and allowing the aircraft to save fuel, cut carbon emissions and land more efficiently.

The new paths contribute to the modernisation of airspace and air navigation in New Zealand, by improving the efficiency of air traffic movements. The benefits for New Zealand include a commitment to the continued improvement of aviation safety, lower aircraft operating costs through fuel savings and lower carbon emissions.

With more than 420 flights every day, Auckland Airport connects Auckland to the rest of New Zealand and the world. These satellite-guided flight paths will help grow travel, trade and tourism in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner.

As announced in December 2014, Auckland Airport, Airways New Zealand and BARNZ have developed a third satellite-guided flight path to Auckland Airport from the North-East for trial. The trial will commence in September 2015 and continue for up to 12 months. The trial flight path can be used between 7am and 10pm by up to 10 aircraft per day. Details of the trial flight path will be published in newspapers in May 2015.