Obstacle Limitation Surfaces

An aerodrome operator must have in place obstacle limitation surfaces (OLS) for the aerodrome that are defined surfaces in the airspace above and adjacent to the aerodrome. These surfaces are necessary to enable aircraft to maintain a satisfactory level of safety while manoeuvring at low altitude in the vicinity of the aerodrome. These surfaces should be free of obstacles and subject to control such as the establishment of zones, where the erection of buildings, masts and cranes are prohibited.

At Rotorua Airport, the Obstacle Limitation Surfaces are detailed in the District Plan, Appendix 6.12.1.

Civil Aviation Rule Part 77 prescribes the rules for persons proposing to construct or alter a structure that could pose a hazard in navigable airspace. Potential hazards to aviation are shown on the CAA’s website.

Structures that are considered to constitute a hazard in Navigable Airspace must be notified to the CAA at least 90 days before construction, using CAA Form 24077/01A, available on the CAA’s website.

Airport Airside Safety

Rotorua Airport has developed a Safety Management System (SMS) as required by the Civil Aviation Authority. The Airside Area contains many inherent dangers, to minimise and mitigate the potential dangers, all persons entering the Airside Area must be wearing AVSEC Airport Identity Card. The exception to this rule is Passengers boarding or disembarking a aircraft, Pilots, Airline Crew, NZ Police, Firefighter or Ambulance officer if they are displaying their relevant departments identity cards.

Airport Identity Card means an airport identity card issued by the Aviation Security Service, or its agent, on behalf of the Director of Civil Aviation under Civil Aviation Rule Part 19 after screening of the relevant person, and which carries a photograph of the relevant person.


Rotorua Airport's boundaries are within a controlled airspace. This means you need to gain consent from Air Traffic Control to fly anything manned or unmanned within this space.

Drones are classified as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs), and due to their increased popularity and affordability, there has been an increase in private usage resulting in a larger number of drones being flown for recreational and commercial purposes.

Rotorua Airport encourages all operators of UAVs and RPAs to familiarise themselves with the Civil Aviation Rules (CAA) surrounding drone usage in controlled airspace, which were introduced on 1 August 2015. The purpose of the CAA is to ensure that aviation safety is maintained and that drone operators are taking responsibility for their operations near air spaces.

Thank you for your co-operation which allows us to continue to operate safely and efficiently. 

Additional information
Maps: Know where to fly within New Zealand 
Traveller FAQs: Visitor information for bringing drones to New Zealand 
Council policies: Know your rights on council land 
Rules and regulations: Civil Aviation Authority information
MyFlights: Log and register your flights 


Kite Surfing

To protect the safety of aircraft, Civil Aviation Rules Part 101 specifies the requirements for kite surfing in our airspace. In accordance with Part 101.55 a person shall not operate a kite within 4km of Rotorua Airport aerodrome boundary unless certain requirements are met.  

To help keep our skies safe please do not kite surf in the Hannahs Bay / Holdens Bay area. Rotorua Airport or Rotorua Air Traffic Control will not authorise kite surfing in those areas.    

Rotorua Air Traffic Control can be contacted on 07 345 5199 for permission to kite surf in other areas of Lake Rotorua. Further information: https://www.aviation.govt.nz/rules/rule-part/show/101


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