Local aviation officials refute Y2K rating

Officials in both New Zealand and Australia are refuting an 'amber' rating for possible Y2K disruption to air travel given by an international Y2K monitoring group.

Officials in both New Zealand and Australia are refuting an "amber" rating for possible Y2K disruption to air travel given by an international Y2K monitoring group.

UK-based Taskforce 2000 has assessed the possible disruption to air traffic and reported its findings in a traffic light system - green for those reported to have completed their Y2K work, amber for those with a completion date of up to December 31 and red for all others. Fourteen countries fall into the amber category, while only seven make it to green.

"There's an awful lot of work that hasn't been done," says Taskforce 2000 spokesman Rob Wilson, in relation to airline services in the amber and more critical red-light countries. "We don't feel there's enough information available."

But officials in New Zealand say the taskforce is obviously working with out-of-date information, and neither the Y2K Readiness Commission or Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has had any contact with the taskforce.

"So far as we're aware, aviation in New Zealand is completed and everything's fine," says commission communications advisor Philippa Cooper.

Michael Hunt, spokesman for CAA, agrees.

"We're more likely to run into trouble with our suppliers than anything else. The worst case would be something like the sewerage system packing up and the council closing us down, rather than any internal problems."

Hunt says very few flights will be operating at either midnight or, just as importantly, 1pm on January 1.

Graeme Inchley, CEO of the Australian federal government's Year 2000 industry programme, says he was "staggered" at the Taskforce 2000 report, and he has already "penned a note" to the organisation.

"We sent them a copy of our most recent report," he says. "The stuff we sent was as comprehensive as anything I've seen."

Inchley says he strongly disagrees not only with Australia's amber rating, but with ratings given to other amber-light countries such as New Zealand and Canada. Taskforce 2000 can be reached at www.taskforce2000.co.uk.

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