Christchurch International Airport was presented with the Jim Collins Memorial award for Aviation Safety at the NZ Airline Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) conference in Auckland on Tuesday evening – and then the CEO and Chief Operating Officer had to charter a flight straight back to Christchurch to deal with the latest significant 5.3 aftershock.
President of NZALPA, Mark Rammell, said Christchurch Airport was the first airport ever to win the award, which has been presented since 1991. Mark Rammell said Christchurch Airport’s work in refining emergency responses and in particular in developing a swift and effective communication system to all aviation decision-makers at the airport throughout the ongoing period of earthquakes was its outstanding contribution to aviation safety.
Christchurch Airport Chief Executive, Jim Boult said he saw the award as a recognition of the work of the whole team at Christchurch Airport. “Unfortunately we have become very practised in responding to real emergency situations,” said. “The positive benefits are that we have tested and refined all our procedures so that now we have great confidence in all our systems, processes and people.”
The award was presented by Maria Collins, wife of Jim Collins the Captain of TE901 lost to Erebus. Past recipients include Captain Gordon Vette, discoverer of the optical phenomenon “sector whiteout” and Justice Mahon, who headed the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Erebus disaster.