Volcanic Ash Advisory System

The volcanic activity of Mt Ruapehu had significant impact on civil aviation in New Zealand during 1995 and 1996. Many flights were cancelled and many more diverted or re-routed. These episodes were the first impact of volcanic ash on modern aviation in New Zealand.

A targeted volcanic ash information system was implemented following those events. The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) recognises the aviation industry's ability to manage its operations in proximity to volcanic ash with the CAA's role being one of facilitation and oversight.

The Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), operated by MetService, provides meteorological information concerning volcanic ash, such as Volcanic Ash Advisories and Volcanic Ash SIGMET.  The VAAC is supported through the collaborative effort of MetService, GNS, Airways NZ and aircraft operators. The standards of the VAAC products reflect New Zealand’s ICAO obligations. Note that this collaborative effort was initially called the Volcanic Ash Advisory System (VAAS), but more recently it has been incorporated into the operation of the MetService operated VAAC and meteorological watch office responsibilities.

Living with Volcanic Ash Episodes in Civil Aviation (1.59 MB)

Contact details:

Peter Lechner
Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand
PO Box 3555
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Email: peter.lechner@caa.govt.nz
Tel:   + 64  4 560 9593
Cell : + 64  27  523 6186
Fax:  + 64  4 569 2024