Last night, the New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) recognised the outstanding efforts of their fellow members at the Christchurch Air Traffic Control Centre and Christchurch Control tower by awarding them the Jim Collins Memorial Safety Award. The award was presented at NZALPA’s Annual Conference in Auckland.


The Christchurch Air Traffic Controllers manage the majority of airspace around New Zealand. Eleshia Mitchell, an Auckland Approach Controller and Alistair Malcolm, Team Leader Christchurch approach, received the award on behalf of the Christchurch controllers. Eleshia was one of 20 ATC personnel on duty at the time when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck on 22nd February 2011.

Whilst havoc reigned in the Christchurch region, the Christchurch controllers calmly went about what is often not recognised as an essential service …..but for Christchurch it was.

Recommencing operations after only a short period, these professionals ‘just got on with it’ allowing this vital link to serve the needs of not only Christchurch residents but air travellers around the country.


The Jim Collins Memorial Award was established in 1991 in memory of Captain Jim Collins and the crew of Air New Zealand flight TE901. It is the premier award of NZALPA and consists of a trophy engraved with a map of Antarctica upon which is marked the actual and expected flight tracks of TE 901. A miniature of the trophy is also presented for the recipient to keep.

About NZALPA - Established in 1945, NZALPA is an internationally affiliated professional trade union for New Zealand pilots and air traffic controllers. Our diverse membership includes General Aviation and commercial pilots, flight instructors and approximately 400 of New Zealand’s air traffic controllers in the employ of Airways NZ.

NZALPA was one of the 15 founding states of IFALPA - the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, an organisation founded to represent the interests of over 100,000 pilots worldwide. IFALPA membership is dispersed through 101 Member Associations who work together as the ‘global voice of pilots’.In 1965, NZALPA joined the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA), which represents 50,000 air traffic controllers worldwide. NZALPA is one of 130 Member Associations affiliated to IFATCA, and has remained an active member in all aspects since joining. for more information. for NZALPA media release.