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Private aircraft are allowed in the air for essential maintenance flights

Local airports are reassuring residents about small private aircraft making short essential maintenance flights, now an approved activity under COVID-19 Alert Level restrictions.

NZ Airports chief executive, Kevin Ward, who heads up the association for 42 airports across the country, says airports are taking quite a few calls from alert locals who have started to see this kind of flying activity around their airports.

“These are generally small private aircraft undertaking short essential maintenance flights that are now allowed under a new approval from New Zealand’s Director-General of Health,” he says.

To get approval for this essential maintenance work on aircraft, owners and operators must supply the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with information regarding their aircraft, the proposed maintenance and how it will be carried out in a way that meets health and safety requirements.

“They need to maintain all COVID-19 requirements around public health, including social distancing guidelines, washing of hands, and wearing personal protection equipment if appropriate. All that has to be put in writing to the CAA as part of their application for approval to do this essential maintenance,” says Mr Ward.

“Most of these flights are only allowed to be 60 minutes or less and are part of the process to test and maintain the airworthiness of an aircraft. Keeping an aircraft airworthy is a highly regulated process and these requirements have to be met to keep flying safe and legal.”

This kind of essential maintenance may also require flying to a different location to access specialist engineering expertise, he says.

“Local communities can rest assured that the approval process through the CAA is actively managing any COVID-19 requirements and risks.

“This is all about keeping aircraft safe, airworthy, legally certified and regularly maintained,” he says.

For further information please contact:

Kevin Ward, Chief Executive, NZ Airports
Tel (021) 384 524