In 2011 Christchurch city suffered a major earthquake. In minutes, nearly 200 people were dead and 2,000 injured. With a population of just over 300,000, everyone knew someone who was deeply affected. The city centre was largely destroyed and is still recovering over ten years later. Whole suburbs were rendered unliveable. Aftershocks continued during the rest of that afternoon as parents frantically rushed through the city to find their children and families. What was left of the cellular system was overloaded, so families were split for hours. It was a frightening time.

The significance of the transition onto new ATM systems, IP radios and network architecture in two new facilities may have gone largely unnoticed on the night due to everything executing perfectly, but the importance to air traffic controllers, customers and citizens of New Zealand cannot be overstated. Should another disaster occur, we have prepared to the absolute best extent we can.

This resulted in a project to find a solution that would withstand unexpected occurrences in the future to ensure resilience of the ATM functionality in the region. 

The submission for this project not only won the Resilience category award, but also the overall excellence. Congratulations to the Airways New Zealand team!