Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand


For further information contact:

Senior Communications Adviser, Emma Peel
Tel: 04 560 9646, or 027 272 3545


Air Nelson to investigate Q300 break in

Air Nelson will investigate the break-in of a Bombardier Q300 aircraft at Paraparaumu airport overnight.

The CAA will monitor the result of that investigation.

As background, Paraparaumu is a non-security regulated airport, meaning the 2.44m-high fencing and presence of the Aviation Security Service found at larger airports, is not required there.

Rather, the security of aircraft is managed by airlines as part of the requirements to hold an Air Operator Certificate under the Civil Aviation Rules.

Airlines at smaller airports have processes in place to ensure that unattended aircraft are safe to fly. Air Nelson carries out detailed inspections of the interior and exterior of aircraft before the first flight of the day, looking for any abnormalities that may suggest tampering.

Air Nelson says its ground handlers who were carrying out a runway and tarmac inspection before the first flight of the day, noticed the Q300’s ditching dam device had been deployed, and alerted the pilots even before they had carried out their first-flight inspection. A ditching dam is a 30cm long, nitrogen-inflated rubber buffer, intended to keep water out of the aircraft in the event of a ditching.

Air Nelson says the aircraft has been put through a complete systems check this morning, and no other damage or interference has been found. It will be released back to service today.

Both Air Nelson and Police are investigating the incident.

Kapiti Coast Airport Ltd Chief Executive Steve Bootten confirms the aircraft apron is fully flood-lit overnight, and says the airport will be meeting with Air Nelson to consider what else can be done to ensure the security of unattended aircraft.

How the civil aviation system works in New Zealand