Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand
11 Nov 2011


For further information contact

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


Background: airstrips

In New Zealand, there are many hundreds of airstrips, used mostly by top dressing aircraft. There are also 26 certificated aerodromes, and about 140 non-certificated aerodromes. Pilots can also legally land on beaches, paddocks and other areas – provided they have assessed the landing site is safe.

Information for pilots about aerodromes is published in the New Zealand Aeronautical Information Publication.

Aircraft with more than 30 passenger seats on regular passenger transport flights must use an aerodrome certificated under Part 139 of the Civil Aviation Rules.

Published non-certificated aerodromes are managed by the operator. The operator details characteristics of the aerodrome, such as hours of operation, runway length, runway surface type and slope, and on-site facilities in the Aeronautical Information Publication.

Agricultural airstrips used in agricultural operations, are supported by Guidelines co-developed by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department of Labour.  These guidelines cover length, width, surface, wind direction indicators, and loading areas etc.

If an area begins to be used as an aerodrome for more than seven days in 30, the owner is required to notify the Director of Civil Aviation, who carries out an aeronautical study of the impact on the area – Part 157.

All pilots are bound by Part 91.127 Use of Aerodromes, which says that the pilot is responsible for ensuring the area is safe before attempting a landing. If a pilot wishes to use an aerodrome at night, it must have lighting (with exceptions in certain emergencies). A pilot on a private flight may use a beach, paddock, or other area as an aerodrome, but must comply with this rule.

How the civil aviation system works in New Zealand (PDF)