Skip to Content

Bernie Richardson

Air Traffic Control Operations Manager, Airways Corporation

20 October 2023

Bernie Richardson is the Christchurch Air Traffic Control Operations Manager for Airways. Bernie is part of a team that manages 30 million square kms of airspace. Together they provide eyes on the skies, working hard to keep people safe and get planes where they need to go.

What do you do at Airways? My job is to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of Air Traffic Control at Christchurch, Wellington, Nelson, Woodbourne, New Plymouth and Rotorua Airports. I am part of a larger Airways team managing 30 million square kms of airspace. Our people work with airlines, airports and regulatory authorities to ensure that pilots, passengers and goods reach their destination safely.

What led you to this career? I found the job by accident from a newspaper advert. Having always been interested in aviation I thought I would give it a try, 34 years later I am still in the job, so I guess it was a good match.

What do you love most about your job? The best thing about being an Air Traffic Controller is that no two days are ever the same. Each day brings a different challenge with varying weather, traffic and complexity. As an operations manager I get to support these highly skilled individuals and ensure they can always perform at their best.

Most exciting moment on the job? I have been involved in many exciting situations over the years, thunderstorms in particular provide some challenges for pilots and air traffic control.

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working? Definitely adventure travel with my wife – often on a motorbike.

Where’s your hometown, and what’s its best-kept secret? Wellington – its coffee, but that’s no secret.

Where’s your favourite winter/summer escape? Iceland in winter, I suggest you had best bring your sense of humour and a warm jacket.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their career at Airways?  It’s a rewarding career with the opportunity to work in many places around the world. Most of all, the people you will meet along the way are outstanding.