Published date: 19 February 2023

Aviation specialists from Fire and Emergency are receiving applications for essential flights into the restricted airspace which the Civil Aviation Authority has designated over the Eastern North Island.

CAA issued the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) at Fire and Emergency’s request on behalf of all the response agencies. This is to ensure that emergency services could operate aircraft safely as part of the response to Cyclone Gabrielle. This includes helicopters and fixed wing aircraft and also drones.

It is essential that all pilots and drone operators understand what aircraft are operating, and where, as they continue search and rescue operations, relief and reconnaissance flights. This is important for aviation safety and emergency responder safety.

Fire and Emergency’s Assistant National Commander, Steve Turek, said there was a process for others outside the emergency response to apply for access to the restricted airspace.

The NOTAM includes advice that applications for essential flights must be emailed to including the following information:

  • The reason for the flight
  • Confirmation that the flight has been authorised by Emergency Management or another partner agency in the response, with details of who has authorised it
  • The requested flight path
  • Specific dates and times requested for the flight

Fire and Emergency is processing all applications and forwarding to the Hastings Emergency Operations Centre for consideration.

As of 3.30pm today, all the applications which have been processed using this system have been approved. There have been delays considering applications that did not include all the required information.