School of Aviation

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    Examining the relationship between shift pattern, risk perception, fatigue, subjective well-being and stress among Mongolian air traffic controllers : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Aviation at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2012) Togtokhbayar, Lkhagvasuren
    The relationship between shift pattern, fatigue, unrealistic optimism, stress and subjective well-being, may affect the safety of air traffic controllers and their likelihood of continuing in the occupation. The aim of this thesis was therefore to investigate the effect of shift pattern (fixed or rotating) on fatigue, unrealistic optimism, stress and subjective well-being among Mongolian air traffic controllers. A battery of four separate questionnaires (and nine demographic items) was completed by 124 Mongolian air traffic controllers (response rate 71%), of whom there were 31 females and 93 males. Length of employment ranged from two months to 28 years. The main findings were that air traffic controllers who work rotating shifts reported higher subjective fatigue, lower subjective well-being and higher stress compared to their colleagues working in fixed shifts. In addition, there was strong evidence of unrealistic optimism towards both general life and air traffic control specific events. Subsequent investigation revealed that unrealistic optimism towards an air traffic control specific events, was approximately two times less than that towards general life events. There was no evidence that shift pattern, fatigue, unrealistic optimism, stress and subjective well-being were related to the length of employment of participants or the likelihood of continuing in their chosen profession. As unrealistic optimism may affect judgment and decision-making (and it can lead to unnecessary risk-taking in aviation), this lower level of unrealistic optimism towards air traffic specific negative events is considered to be a positive finding. However, it was noted that the overall mean of the perceived stress score of Mongolian air traffic controllers was higher than that of New Zealand air traffic controllers, although lower than New Zealand college students and a smoking-cessation sample. Mongolian air traffic controllers are prey to both unrealistic optimism and the effect of shift pattern on their fatigue, stress and well-being. This thesis highlights the need to be aware that this might lead to compromised decision-making and subsequently, unnecessary risk taking.
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    Regional airline-rail alliances as a competitive strategy for airports : submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Masters of Aviation degree at Massey University, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2012) Zwanikken, Brendan
    There are currently 182 airport-rail links worldwide, with more being built every year (IARO, 2012). The focus of these links, and the current associated literature is generally on highspeed rail and CBD-centric services. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the relationship between airports with regional airline-rail alliances resulted in a relatively more successful competitive strategy than those airports without such relationships. Using a comparative case study method, four airports were analysed to address this question. Firstly, the study uses Porter’s (1979) five forces model to analyse industry competition. Several common factors were discovered that drive the strategies in each of the four case studies. Secondly, the study found that the successful case studies have strategic options that are aligned with Porter’s (1980) model of three generic competitive strategies. Finally, funding support from central government is essential to the building and sustainable operation of all four of the case studies. The study concludes, that regional airline-rail alliances are beneficial to airports as a competitive advantage, provided the political support for infrastructure investment is present.
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    Investigating Hong Kong's role as the main air transport hub in the Asia-Pacific region : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctorate of Philosophy in Aviation at Massey University, Manawatu Campus, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2012) Tsui, Wai Hong Kan
    Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has experienced growth in air traffic volumes since its opening in 1998, and has established itself as one of the main international hub airports in the Asia-Pacific region and China’s primary gateway. However, it is concerned about losing this position due to increased competition from alternative international gateway hub airports in Mainland China and around the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, HKIA’s growth in passenger numbers started to show a declining trend and was smaller relative to other regional airports. The objective of this research was to investigate HKIA’s relative operational efficiency and network position and forecast its ability to maintain its role as the main air transport hub in the Asia-Pacific region and the primary passenger gateway to Mainland China. The research in this thesis undertook three separate but related empirical studies to answer several questions that contribute to addressing the overall research objective. The first study used Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to assess the operational efficiency of HKIA compared to other major Asia-Pacific airports. HKIA was found to reside on the efficiency frontier as one of the most efficient airports in the Asia-Pacific region. In the second study, the NetScan Connectivity Units (CNU) model measured and compared the direct, indirect, and hub connectivity of the major Asia-Pacific airports. HKIA was found to have a competitive position offering larger direct and hub connectivity to other international regions relative to other airports. Furthermore, the market share analysis showed that HKIA maintained its role as China’s primary passenger gateway handling a significant share of China’s inbound international visitors from several regions around the world. In the third study, the Box-Jenkins Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA) and ARIMAX models were modelled to forecast Hong Kong airport’s future passenger throughput, and its future passenger throughput were projected to grow. The findings of the research suggested that HKIA has maintained its position as the main air transport hub in the Asia-Pacific region and China’s primary passenger gateway with the support of efficient operations and competitive international flight connectivity networks. Given that HKIA maintains this relative position, its airport passenger throughput is forecasted to grow in the future.
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    Customer satisfaction with air service delivery within Kiribati : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Aviation at Massey University, Turitea campus, Palmerston North
    (Massey University, 2012) Teikake, Aako
    Delivering high quality service to passengers is important so that airlines can survive and strengthen their competitiveness. Service quality conditions influence an airline’s competitive advantage, and with it come market share, and ultimately profitability (Morash & Ozment, 1994). Since, service quality is an important factor in customer satisfaction; this study is basically conducted in Kiribati so that the level of satisfaction can be described allowing an airline and airport management to fully recognize the deficiencies of their service quality. This thesis assessed customer satisfaction with air service delivery within Kiribati, including interisland comparisons. The main research objective of the study was to describe the level of customer satisfaction with the service delivery of both the domestic airline and local airports. The research method consisted of a survey regarding satisfaction with both airline and airport services. A structured questionnaire was developed using the SKYTRAX questionnaire as benchmark. The questionnaire was personally administered to the target population of domestic air travellers within Kiribati. A stratified sampling procedure was used for this research. Each stratum represents different levels of air service availability within the Gilbert group because of geographical distance from the capital. An island within each stratum was selected as being most representative of such stratum. A total of 200 questionnaire were distributed, 50 questionnaire per stratum, of which were returned. Therefore, the final research sample consisted of 177 participants. Results show that, irrespective of islands, customer satisfaction is poor. This indicates that air service quality does not match the expectations of customers. With respect to islands, the study also found that passengers are not satisfied with air service delivery on their respective islands, including both the domestic airline and the local airport. This study also concludes that satisfaction level is significantly different between islands, age groups and gender. Although there are service dimensions which were reported as satisfactory by customers, satisfaction levels were, overall, poor. In conclusion, this study suggests that policy-makers as well as airline and airport management need to take workable measures to improve upon air service quality. It is important for air service providers to recognize the importance of customer satisfaction; as such satisfaction may be the pillar for business continuation in Kiribati. Air Kiribati as well as airport managers must identify and improve upon factors that could limit or prevent customer defection to alternative transport modes. These factors may include employee performance and professionalism, willingness to solve problems, friendliness, and level of knowledge, communication skills and selling skills, among others.
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    Increased risk of multi-crew operations: examining the effect of group polarisation on perceived invulnerability in general aviation pilots
    (2010) Lee, Seung Yong; Gilbey, Andrew
    According to the theory of group polarisation, perceived invulnerability could be greater in multi-crew operations than for single pilots. The purpose of this study was to measure the level of perceived invulnerability among general aviation pilots in New Zealand and to examine whether the level of perceived invulnerability was influenced by the presence of other pilots. Whilst it is of some concern that the majority of the pilots exhibited perceived invulnerability, no evidence was found to suggest that the level of perceived invulnerability is affected by a group polarisation effect, although further replication of this study is recommended.
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    The application of the New Zealand Civil Aviation Rule Part 115 for the regulation of adventure aviation activities : dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment for the degree of Master of Aviation Management, Department of Aviation, Massey University
    (Massey University, 2011) Marriott, David
    Research was undertaken to examine the implementation requirements of a proposed rule, NZCAR Part 115,which has been developed with the intention to regulate “adventure aviation” activities in New Zealand. The regulation applies to a wide range of tourism focused airborne operations including the use of ex-military and aerobatic aircraft for joyriding, passenger flights in balloons, gliders, tandem parachuting and hang-gliding operations. The rule was considered necessary as there has been a lack of any recognized safety standards applicable to these activities when they are conducted beyond a purely recreational purpose. An increasing number of operators commercialise their activities by focusing on taking passengers for rides as opposed to conducting training or “trial flights” (which are assumed to be for the purpose of introducing people to the sport). Many of these operations use non-certified aircraft which have not been intended for the carriage passengers on a commercial scale. Where paying passengers are carried, safety is assumed to require a greater level of management. The regulator – the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority - considers that a formal system that applies standards similar to those of small airline would be more appropriate. A new rule was required due to the novel and diverse nature of activities, and the various types of aircraft used. Specialist legislation for adventure aviation would also open up the sector for further commercial opportunities and would provide the ability to regulate such activities within the civil aviation system. The thesis includes a review of literature which examines the basis of the legislatory requirements and defines the rationale for the rule-making standard, as well as introducing notions for defining and assessing risk within aviation. The review also looks at published industry reaction to the development of the Rule. A part of the research, the survey of operators, elicits their opinion as to the workability of the new legislation. The survey also tests the current level of each operator’s compliance according to a 72 point checklist of operational items and ascertains what modifications to the systems and practices are required in order to comply. The research outcomes identified two groups of operators - one of which has standards and systems that are close to compliance with the new legislation and the other for which compliance would be difficult due to deficient systems and practices. Analysis of the differences highlighted a cultural separation of the groups in terms of their connection with mainstream general aviation and their understanding of the risk management concepts and practices required for commercial operations. The discussion of the results of the research highlights problems with the application of the proposed regulation, particularly to the non-compliant group. Issues include the recreational origins of the sector, a lack of acceptance of the Rule by operators, and on-going problems with the consultation and collaboration in the rule-development process. Workable compliance strategies and processes are discussed, including developing an ecological approach to managing safety as part of best practice. Recommendations look at possible strategies for implementation including the requirement for more pro-active education and enculturation processes, and the formation of a national representative body
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    Threat and error management : an analysis of reported safety occurences to the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand 1998-2007 : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Aviation at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2010) Graham, Timothy
    Current safety reports indicate a rise in the number of reported incidents involving both medium and small aeroplanes and helicopters. The purpose of this study is to identify specific threats, errors and Undesirable Aircraft States (UAS), present in safety-related occurrences reported to the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAANZ). Threat and Error Management (TEM) is used to improve safety margins in aviation operations through the practical integration of human factors knowledge. The TEM framework is used to guide the investigation of reported safety-related occurrences in a way that systematically identifies specific threats, errors and UAS. This research employs the predictive safety method by investigating reported historical events, followed by analysing each event to list threats, errors and UAS. If a threat, error or UAS is identified in an occurrence, it is then marked ‘present’ under the corresponding column of the TEM taxonomic. After the completion of the classifications, solutions can be developed to prevent similar occurrences in the future. To test for accuracy and consistency of threat, error and UAS classifications, ten randomly chosen occurrences were provided to ten aviation professionals. These tests included Cohen’s Kappa test and a percentage of agreement test. Cohen’s Kappa results reached significant agreement with half of the respondents and an overall percentage of agreement of 68 per cent compared with the researcher’s classifications. Results from the TEM classifications show the majority of threats had environmental influences and procedural errors. The most common UAS resulted mainly from Ground Navigation and Aircraft Handling operational conditions. The TEM technique enabled a focus on the events that contributed to an incident rather than an accident. By applying the results from this TEM taxonomic, it is hoped that pilots will benefit from a better understanding of the importance of TEM and how frequently threat and errors contribute to incidents. This research would then help flight operators and pilots better prepare themselves to react to the likelihood of specific threats or errors, if and when they occur.
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    Under-reporting in aviation : an investigation of factors that affect reporting of safety concerns : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctorate of Philosophy in Aviation at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2010) Tani, Kawtar
    A substantial body of evidence suggests that reporting safety concerns and wrongdoing could contribute to improving safety if diligently applied within organisations. A number of aviation accidents suggest that the principles of reporting have not been embraced by the aviation industry; for example, there is evidence that aviation incidents are not always reported even when reporting is mandated by law. This thesis seeks to uncover factors influencing individuals’ intentions to report safety concerns in aviation and to whom such reports might be made. A case study of a New Zealand based example of how under-reporting in aviation may have contributed to the cause of a fatal accident was first presented as evidence of the research problem. Subsequently, four empirical studies of participants working or intending to work in the aviation industry were reported. The empirical findings provided consistent evidence of six factors (seriousness of wrongdoing, direct or indirect involvement in wrongdoing, working environment, legal protection of the reporter, motive of the wrongdoer, and relationship to the wrongdoer) that may influence both individuals’ perceptions of safety issues at the workplace, and their intentions to report wrongdoing. Evidence was also found that when participants do act upon being confronted with wrongdoing situations, they may not do so in a manner that is fully consistent with improving aviation safety. The implications of the empirical findings were discussed and a means of communicating information about what to do when confronted with evidence of wrongdoing in the aviation workplace was proposed. In conclusion, there is confusion in the aviation workplace regarding what matters should be reported to the regulatory authorities and to whom reports should be made. Until such confusion is resolved, the notion that all aviation accidents are preventable is somewhat unrealistic.
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    Developing proficiency in air transport pilots : the case for the introduction on non-technical skills in basic pilot training programmes : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of PhD Aviation at Massey University, Palmerston North
    (Massey University, 2008) De Montalk, Ritchie James
    This study examines the differences between the skills and competencies of New Zealand flight school graduates and the types of skills and competencies believed to define a proficient air transport pilot. In New Zealand the training of professional pilots is directed towards meeting the requirements laid down by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority for the licensing of professional pilots. However, some evidence suggests that competence for licensing purposes does not necessarily meet the requirements of the airlines and the types of skills that they require as a prerequisite to airline training. Although not clearly defined, this shortfall has been recognised for several decades and traditional thinking is that extra flying experience gained as a general aviation pilot will develop the skills necessary for entry into airline pilot training. The importance that pilots of differing experience levels attach to technical and non-technical skills and their perception of the training effectiveness of those skills and how deficiencies in those skills contributed to aircraft accidents was explored by a four stage study including: i) a review and analysis of flight test results obtained from graduate pilots on a university air transport pilot programme; ii) the analysis of responses to questionnaires supplied to three pilot groups within the New Zealand aviation industry; iii) the analysis of air transport aircraft accidents and their primary and contributing causes; and iv) interviews with qualified airline pilots working for New Zealand airlines. The results indicated that throughout the spectrum of experience and qualifications, from student pilot to airline pilot, the technical skill of aircraft handling was highly valued and the training in this skill was considered by all pilots to be satisfactory. In contrast, while non-technical skill deficiencies were found to be primary or contributing factors in many aircraft accidents, less importance was attached to non-technical skills by all pilot groups. The training effectiveness of these skills was rated as only moderately effective or of minimal effectiveness. The findings are discussed and recommendations are made for the improvement of basic flight training. In addition, a model is proposed for the fast tracking of flight school graduates into the airline training schools. Several areas for future research are also proposed.
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    Grappling with complexity : finding the core problems behind aircraft accidents : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Aviation at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2006) Zotov, Dmitri Victorovitch
    The purpose of accident investigation is the discovery of causal factors, so that they may be remedied, in order to avert the recurrence of accidents (ICAO, 1994). However, experience has shown that the present intuitive methods of analysis do not always achieve this aim. Investigation failure may come about because of failure to discover causal factors, or to devise effective remedies, or to persuade those in a position to act of the need to do so. Each of these types of failure can be made less likely by the use of formal analytical methods which can show whether information gathering has been incomplete, and point to the sources of additional information that may be needed. A formal analysis can be examined by formal logical tests. Also, the use of formal change mechanisms can not only devise changes likely to be effective, but can present these changes in such a way that the case for them is compelling. Formal methods currently available are concerned with what happened, and why it happened. To produce generic remedies which might avert future accidents of similar type, some formal change mechanism is needed. The Theory of Constraints has become widely adopted in business as a way of replacing undesirable effects with desired outcomes. The Theory of Constraints has not previously been used for safety investigation, and a principal object of this thesis is to see whether it can usefully be employed in this area. It is demonstrated that the use of formal methodology can bring to light factors which were overlooked during an official accident investigation, and can ‘tell the story’ in a more coherent manner than is possible with present methods. The recommendations derived from the formal analysis are shown to be generic in nature, rather than particular to the airline involved and the accident studied, and so could have a wider effect in improving safety.