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.


Final SMART Approaches report now available

The final report on the SMART Approaches flight path trial is now available. The final report follows public feedback on the draft report, published in May 2014, and further analysis of data from the trial. Click here to download a copy of the report.

The report outlines that three satellite-guided flight approaches to Auckland Airport have been modified as a result of trialling and community feedback, and will start being used in mid-2015. Two new approaches from the north have been approved, along with a third approach from the south. A fourth approach, also from the north, is being developed for trial and public consultation in 2015.

As a result of the trial and consultation, the SMART flight paths have been made higher in places and the curves of the approaches widened, so that aircraft can reduce the use of thrust and speed brakes – reducing noise, using even less fuel and delivering benefits for the environment.

While more than 420 flights land and take off at Auckland Airport every day, each of the new flight paths that approach the airport from the north will be used no more than ten times per day.

During the trial, fuel savings equivalent to approximately 600 flights between Auckland and Wellington were made along with carbon dioxide-emission savings of three million kilogrammes.

The final SMART Approaches report also confirms that from September 2015 all jets flying conventional flight paths from the north will no longer be able to make visual approaches to Auckland Airport. Visual approaches are considered to create more noise than instrument-based approaches. Visual approaches to the airport from the north by wide-body jets, such as the B777, were stopped in September 2014.