About the Civil Aviation Rules

The CAA uses different ways to manage risk in aviation, including education, guidance, and legislative tools like the rules. The approach used depends on the nature and degree of the risk posed to the aviation system.

Rules are generally made when setting a common or consistent standard is the best way to manage a safety risk or address an issue with the aviation system. They are made under the Civil Aviation Act 1990 by the Minister of Transport. While the Minister makes the rules, anyone can petition for a new rule or to update an existing rule, and there are several opportunities for aviation participants to get involved in the rule-making process.

Other related pages >>
Civil Aviation Rules Rule Projects in Progress
Rules - Quick Index Exemptions
Current Advisory Circulars The Rule Development Process
Emergency Rules Regulatory Policy

Which Rules Apply to Me?

The Civil Aviation Rules are divided into approximately 50 Parts covering specific subject areas. More than one Part may apply to you. For example, if you’re a private pilot, you need to know about gaining and maintaining your licence (Part 61), the flying and airspace rules (Part 91), and how to report incidents (Part 12). Part 1 - Definitions will also help you to understand what the terms mean.

If you need any help deciding which Parts relate to you, email: info@caa.govt.nz,
or tel: 04 560 9400.

Advisory Circulars

Most rules are supported by Advisory Circulars (ACs) that provide guidance on complying with the rules. They are often used by the CAA as an acceptable means of compliance. The ACs do not have the force of a rule unless specifically referenced by a rule or incorporated into an operator’s approved exposition (an operating manual approved by the CAA).

How Can You Have a Say?

Issues with our aviation regulatory system can arise. For example, technology or international requirements may change, or our existing regulatory requirements could be resulting in unintended safety or economic outcomes.

Anyone can apply to the CAA to raise a regulatory issue for assessment using CAA Form 24011/01. See The Rule Development Process for more information on the issue assessment process.

The CAA offers a FREE notification service that will send you an email alerting you to some changes relating to rules, airspace, and airworthiness.

If you want to be more involved, you can also nominate yourself for membership on the Aviation Community Advisory Group (ACAG). ACAG is a representative industry body that provides advice to the CAA on issues affecting aviation safety and the aviation operating environment. The ACAG membership reflects the range of interests in the aviation community and includes both permanent members provided by representative organisations, and elected members from the aviation community. If you subscribe to our email notifications, there is also a list for the ACAG.

Safety Management Systems

Everyone needs to manage risks - even if they are not covered in a rule - by keeping an eye on hazards and potential risks, and proactively acting to reduce risk. The CAA is moving towards the use of Safety Management Systems (SMS) as a key safety tool. Certified organisations will be required to implement a safety management system, but anyone can use the guidance provided by the link above.

Need More Information?

If you have any queries about the aviation regulatory system, email: info@caa.govt.nz, or tel: 04 560 9400.

Legislative and International Standards

Civil Aviation Act 1990 - the New Zealand Legislation web site

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) - CAA's ICAO information, including a link to the ICAO web site