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20+ Years of Partnership with Christchurch Airport

Radio network survives earthquake, strengthens relationship

Christchurch International Airport Ltd (CIAL) operates New Zealand’s second largest airport and acknowledged Gateway to the South Island, and has experienced almost continuous development since its first flights in 1940. By the end of 2016, passenger numbers had exceeded 6.3 million passengers, up from 5.9 million the previous year.

TL Parker has been a trusted adviser and partner for more than 20 years of this rapid development, as an industry leader in delivering mobile radio systems and solutions in New Zealand, backed by Motorola Solutions’ technology, networks and devices.

A radio channel has always been dedicated to emergency communications, allowing for clear and swift decisions to be made. Throughout each large aftershock, this communications process proved its worth with a highly efficient emergency response.

The relationship began with the installation and supply of network and products in 1993, followed by an upgrade to analogue Smartnet trunked services and networks in 1996.



The relationship was strengthened in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011. During the latter earthquake, the cellular phone network was brought down, but the radio network remained operational. As CIAL’s Annual Report 2011 relates, TL Parker’s foresight in including a single channel dedicated to all airport campus-related companies paid off:

“A radio channel has always been dedicated to emergency communications, allowing for clear and swift decisions to be made. Throughout each large aftershock, this communications process proved its worth with a highly efficient emergency response”.

“Everyone recognised the value of this vital piece of infrastructure, as flights carrying civil defence and emergency personnel arrived within 90 minutes of the disaster. For the first 20 hours after the earthquake, the only flights were military, ambulance and medivac flights. When commercial flights resumed the next morning, thousands of people poured into the airport to take the first available flight out of the city.”


Moving to digital

Several years later in 2014, CIAL rolled out the Orion Digital Network rollout, including applications and software.

Powered by Motorola Solutions’ MOTOTRBO Connect Plus digital mobile radio (DMR) technology, Orion enables the integration of voice and data services. Using this platform, CIAL moved from a single site to multisite system, ensuring redundancy for the network and greater security of service. The Orion Network also improved coverage of the network, meaning more reliable communications over a wider area. Overlapping coverage ensured that if any one site failed, the other two could take over.


Growing as the business grows

Growth at CIAL has been exponential. Christchurch Airport set several records early in 2016, following on from new international flights from Singapore Airlines, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Qantas and Virgin. Further new flights are being added constantly and, as a result, the airport had its busiest day ever on the 19 February 2016, with 25,618 passengers passing through.

A large number of factors have enabled this expansion; however, an efficient and scalable communications system is one prerequisite for such expansion. The presence of a trusted supplier who has knowledge and experience of the entire system makes for a smooth integration when new airlines join the airport.

TL Parker also manages the installation of a complete operational communications network throughout all vehicles at Christchurch Airport, including radios, sirens, PA system, beacons and flashing lights. Once the system is installed, management reverts back to the airport company with repairs and maintenance also provided by it.

By completion of the migration, every airline, catering company, rental Car Company, security team and other personnel, with the exception of emergency services, will be part of one fully integrated communications system. This is the culmination of a journey that started in 1996 when TL Parker began working towards the common goal of complete convergence at the airport.


Trusted adviser

As trusted adviser, TL Parker mitigates the risk borne by the airport company. TL Parker is consulted on the potential effects of any developments that could have an impact on radio signals in the area, such as cellular infrastructure or new WiFi services. Service level agreements are currently being put in place to cover agreed time frames and performance levels for network services, repair work and consultancy services.


Award winning customer service

TL Parker’s customer service is such that CIAL provided a glowing recommendation praising TL Parker for its ongoing support when nominating Garry Parker for outstanding sales and support in the RFUANZ Awards in 2015.

The nominations read: “TL Parker Communication has provided various radio based solutions for Christchurch International Airport Ltd (CIAL) since 1996. During this time TL Parker has always provided a superior product and level of service to our operation. The team, led by Garry Parker is always extremely reliable and ‘bends over backwards’ to deliver on any promised timelines”.

Digital radio communications provide future proof communication solutions for your business

TL Parker design and deliver effective and robust mobile radio solutions for your business- contact us and we will show you how we can deliver a communication solution that meets your needs

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