Kāpiti Coast Airport will have a series of rolling closures from tomorrow until February 1 due to a lack of Airways staff to operate the Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) at the airport.
The closures are at various times over the next two months, some for up to five hours at a time.
AFIS provides information useful to pilots for the safe and efficient conduct of their flights.
Kāpiti Coast Airport's exposition, as accepted by the Civil Aviation Authority, details the provisions they have to operate in accordance with.
AFIS being off-watch during some of the usual times constitutes a 'significant change' for the airport, therefore the airport will be closed when there are no staff operating the AFIS service.
"We're currently managing a temporary staff shortage due to two recent resignations at our Kāpiti Coast Airport tower," Airways spokeswoman Emma Lee said.
While replacement staff have been appointed and are undergoing training to work at the tower, there will be closures until the new staff are fully operational.
"This is not an issue we are experiencing at other airports, it is only Kāpiti Coast Airport that is affected.
"Until these staff are fully operational, our shifts at the airport have been rearranged to accommodate scheduled flights into and out of Kāpiti and ensure we minimise the impact on services to our customers.
Kāpiti Coast Airport spokeswoman Dani Simpson from NZ Prop Co Ltd said, "AFIS services are independently provided by Airways, a state-owned enterprise.
"They are currently experiencing severe staff shortages and are unable to provide a full staff roster while they work to address the shortage.
"In line with our airport exposition, Kāpiti Coast Airport will be closed when AFIS is not on-watch: safety is paramount.
"Airways has done its best to cover all regular scheduled commercial flights and to maximise flying hours for general aviation users whilst managing the workload of its staff members.
"NZ Prop Co Ltd remains fully committed to safely operating its aerodrome in full compliance with its legal obligations."
In order to avoid disruption, the closures have been scheduled in order to provide coverage around the time scheduled airline flights are coming and going, meaning that the changes are unlikely to affect Air Chathams' commercial service.
However Kāpiti Aero Club president Tony Quayle said the changes will have a big impact on the club's operation and is asking the airport owners to consider changing their exposition so they can operate.
"They are providing coverage around the time scheduled airline flights are coming and going but that means because they can't provide full coverage there are times pretty much every day that the airport will be closed."
Providing training and operating a number of club owned and privately owned aircrafts, the aero club will not be able to take off or land during the times of the closures.
"The nature of the disruption will mean that a lot of our instruction and recreational flying will be impractical during that period so a high proportion of our revenue will be at risk."
Looking back through their records over the same period from December 12 to February 1 last year, the club had a total revenue of $141,000.
After the Covid-19 lockdown, business was booming and trending upwards for the club.
"We've had a really good year, the economy has picked up strongly for us and we were predicting this summer that over the same period we would be making around $160,000.
"So a large part of the $160,000 is at risk for us with these closures.
"The airport has no contingency for operating without AFIS.
"We use weather reports from MetService and listen on the radio for other pilots operating in the vicinity.
"It is mandatory for us to broadcast on radio our position, altitude and intentions every 10 minutes.
"We are fighting this decision and are in talks with the CAA to facilitate the opening of the airport by negotiating with the airport owners for a pragmatic solution."