If you already know about New Southern Sky (NSS) and want specific information about the programme, or particular answers to particular questions, go to New Southern Sky(external link).

If you want a quick introduction to NSS, read on.


In recent years, demand for airspace has increased. At the same time, there’ve been significant technological advances in the management of that airspace, and in air navigation services.

NSS is a 10-year programme to co-ordinate the various activities that New Zealand’s aviation-related agencies (such as Airways, the Ministry of Transport, and the NZ Defence Force) are delivering under the National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan to deliver safety, economic, environmental and social benefits.

The programme is helping aviation participants make a safe, effective move to flying with the new technologies. It’s already delivering shorter journeys, improved safety, reduced fuel burn, and lower carbon emissions. It is expected to deliver nearly NZ$1 billion in wider economic benefit to the country over 20 years.

Some highlights of those benefits since the programme started in mid-2014:

  • Every year 2.2 million more passenger journeys are better protected by aircraft using approaches incorporating ‘vertical guidance’.
  • A recent study has confirmed that benefits are still being delivered ‘to scale’ as the aviation system recovers.
  • Annual flight efficiency benefits realised are in line with expectations from the 2018 Acuo cost benefit analysis and include:
  • 4.9 M kg fuel burn saved
  • 15.4 M kg CO2 emissions reduction
  • $NZ 7.3 M saving in aircraft direct operating costs
  • $NZ 5.7 M value of passenger time saved

Some details

The programme is co-ordinating change in the following areas:

Air navigation – getting from A to B more efficiently, accurately and safely using satellites instead of ground-based navigation aids

Surveillance – more accurately identifying and controlling who’s in the sky and where

Communications – advances in how aircraft talk to other aircraft and to air traffic control on the ground

Aeronautical information management – moving to digital technology to better manage information for pilots and other flight crew

Air traffic management – using technology to make safer and more efficient use of airspace, leading to a reduction and simplification of controlled airspace areas

Airspace design – better decisions about who is allowed to fly where and preparing for airspace changes driven by new technologies

Aerodromes – technology will impact them all, whether they’re international airports or a strip of mowed grass


The programme ‘partners’ are the CAA, Ministry of Transport, and Airways New Zealand. The New Southern Sky Working Group meets every six months and is led by the CAA’s Deputy Chief Executive Aviation Security and Infrastructure. The Working Group includes representatives from throughout civil aviation and the New Zealand Defence Force.

Contact: nss@caa.govt.nz

More info: New Southern Sky(external link)