Technological advances in airspace management and air navigation services bring new challenges and opportunities for the global aviation system. New Southern Sky is our plan to realise the social and economic potential of these technologies by integrating them into the New Zealand aviation system.

The National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan – New Southern Sky

Approved by Cabinet in early 2014, New Southern Sky gives a clear direction on incorporating new and emerging technologies into the aviation system to ensure the safe, cohesive, efficient and collaborative management of New Zealand’s airspace and air navigation to 2023.

The modernisation of airspace and air navigation in New Zealand will involve improved efficiency of air traffic movements, more accurate navigation, reduced reliance on ground based systems, and improved communications. Increased information availability will also enable more effective decision making. Together, these changes will mean lower operating costs and improved aviation safety.

New technologies - new opportunities

  • Satellite navigation now allows aircraft positions to be determined more precisely
  • Radar networks can be replaced by aircraft based surveillance systems
  • Digital and satellite communication is becoming commonplace
  • Aeronautical information is being digitised and integrated
  • Air traffic control systems now support more precise air traffic management

Benefits for New Zealand

Through coordinating the introduction of new technologies and changes to the aviation system, New Southern Sky will enable shorter journeys, improved safety and lower carbon emissions for more than 10 million air travellers every year.  It is expected the programme will contribute nearly $2 billion in national economic benefits through fuel savings, lower aircraft operating costs, and efficiencies for airlines.

The global picture

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is leading the global transition to an integrated and interoperable global air navigation system.

ICAO has produced a Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP) to guide countries in their uptake of these new technologies. Many have their own plans, including the United States, which has put in place the NextGen programme. Single European Sky is a multinational programme for the modernisation of European airspace.

Domestic connections

New Southern Sky has been developed under The National Airspace Policy of New Zealand (2012), and Connecting New Zealand, a policy transport paper (2011). It is also a key initiative in the Intelligent Transport Systems Action Plan, which outlines a proposed work programme on Intelligent Transport Systems for New Zealand.


Our Stakeholders

Governance Group

The purpose of the New Southern Sky Governance Group is to provide strategic guidance and oversight of the National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan through New Southern Sky, the implementation programme.

Members of the Governance Group, which is chaired by the CAA, include the Ministry of Transport and the Airways Corporation.  Director New Southern Sky sits on the Governance Group  and an independent member.

Working Group


The New Southern Sky Working Group (NSSWG) is a cross-agency group comprising representatives of the agencies involved in the NSS programme. The NSSWG, chaired by the Director NSS (CAA), is responsible for providing advice to the programme project leads, and to the NSS Governance Group to enable that group to fulfil its role.

The membership of the Working Group is:

  • CAA (Chairman – Director NSS)
  • Airways Corporation
  • Ministry of Transport
  • MetService
  • Air New Zealand
  • Qantas Group
  • Land Information New Zealand
  • Airports Association
  • Aviation Community Advisory Group
  • Aeroplane Owners and Pilots Association
  • Ministry for the Environment
  • New Zealand Defence Force
  • Aviation New Zealand

Meet the team

Made up of representatives from across the CAA, the NSS team has wide ranging expertise in aviation systems and technology development, and in other disciplines such as policy analysis, programme management and marketing communications.

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Steve Smyth

Director, New Southern Sky

Steve Smyth is originally from the UK. He was an RAF officer, and flew Phantoms and Tornado fighters as a navigator. In his last RAF role Steve was responsible for the RAF’s operational test and evaluation programme, which included preparing Typhoon fighters ready for service.

In 2006, Steve was recruited by the RNZAF as a civilian to manage the Introduction Into Service programme for the upgrade or replacement of every operational aircraft and supporting system.

In July 2014, Steve was recruited by the CAA, as Director – New Southern Sky.

Steve’s role is to bring together all aspects of New Southern Sky, both internal and external, through coordination of the New Southern Sky stakeholder group. He chairs the Working Group and is a member of the Governance Group to which he reports.

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Ray Harvey

Aerospace Programmes Manager

Originally from the UK, Ray began his career there with the Ministry of Defence. His expertise is in avionics systems development, radio and radar.

Ray has wide public and private sector experience in avionics systems development, integration, test and certification for both military and civilian applications in Europe, the USA, as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

In 2011 Ray joined the CAA as an Airworthiness Engineer (Avionics) and became involved in type acceptance, operational approvals and the development of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) in New Zealand.

In April 2014 he became CAA Aerospace Programmes Unit Manager with a key responsibility for the considerable aerospace component of New Southern Sky. Ray also Chairs the New Southern Sky Safety Group that considers the safety implications of new technology, and systems deployment.

He is the CAA Air Transport and Airworthiness Group International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) liaison for projects, research & technology, test & evaluation, and exemptions.

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Brigid Borlase

Principal Policy Advisor

Brigid joined the Civil Aviation Authority in February 2014, and is part of the Policy and Regulatory Services team. Her background is in research, and policy analysis and development in a number of government agencies, and eight years with a consulting firm.

Brigid’s role in New Southern Sky is to provide policy support to the programme. This includes analysis of the issues presented by NSS, and providing options for addressing these where a policy intervention is required. Rule changes, guidance and advice to the sector, and advice to Government (in tandem with the Ministry of Transport) are part of her role.

Brigid works closely with CAA and Airways technical and safety experts, and with her policy counterparts at the Ministry of Transport.

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Lydia Randall

Project Portfolio Coordinator

Lydia joined the Civil Aviation Authority in May 2016 as the Senior Administrative Officer for New Southern Sky and the Aerospace Programmes. Tasked with providing all levels of administrative support to the NSS team, Lydia also provided the NSS team with project support.

In November 2016 Lydia commenced her new role as the Project Portfolio Coordinator for all internal CAA led projects and tasks.  As the key interface between the NSS programme and the Civil Aviation Authority, Lydia’s responsibilities include assisting project managers with the development of schedules, reporting and tracking of projects whilst keeping the programme updated on project and task progression.

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Steve Blades

Senior Advisor, Programme Management

A project management specialist with wide ranging public sector experience, Steve Blades provides expert advice across the Civil Aviation Authority.

He is chiefly responsible for monitoring and reporting on the delivery of key organisational programmes and projects to the Director of Civil Aviation.

Steve worked closely with the New Southern Sky team and partner agencies to develop the programme plan and identify related projects and activities, objectives and deliverables. He also played a key role in establishing reporting and control mechanisms that provide status updates to the Working and Governance Groups.

Steve also provides programme support to the Programme Director as required.

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Scott Earley

Programme Coordinator, New Southern Sky

Scott has lived and worked in Wellington since the mid-1990’s. A science graduate from Victoria University, Scott has an extensive background in the New Zealand geospatial industry, having worked with a wide range of private and public sector clients. Scott is now a developed project and programme delivery specialist. In 2013, Scott was recruited by the NZDF as a civilian to project manage the $135 million Medium Heavy Operational Vehicle project within Capability Branch. A key capability project replacing the ageing UNIMOG 1700 and Mercedes fleet used by the NZDF for the past 30 years.

In September 2016, Scott was recruited by the CAA, as Programme Coordinator, New Southern Sky. Scott’s role is to support Director New Southern Sky leading the work surrounding benefits definition and realisation planning for the NSS programme, of which risk and issue management is a key component.

Scott chairs the Project Control Team to work closely with the Aerospace Programme Unit Project Portfolio Coordinator and external stakeholders to deliver the expected outcomes of the NSS Programme.