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Airspace restrictions lifted around White Island

The restrictions were lifted on October 31. Photo: ARHT.

The CAA has lifted the restricted airspace above and around Whakaari White Island.

Restricted Area NZR 200 was established after the eruption of the volcano on December 9, 2019.

Twenty one people died following the eruption.

"Although the restriction will be lifted, all existing rules in Civil Aviation Rules, Part 91 still apply, including the specific guidance for general aviation activity inside a Volcanic Hazard Zone," says a statement on the CAA website.

These rules include:

A pilot must not operate an aircraft within a volcanic hazard zone designated under Part 71

(1) during the night; or

(2) in IMC; or

(3) in VMC during the day unless the pilot determines that, after considering all of the following, the volcanic hazard will not affect the safety of the flight:

(i) relevant meteorological information contained in SIGMET:

(ii) NOTAM information;

(iii) other information provided for this purpose by an organisation that holds a meteorological service certificate issued by the Director of Civil Aviation under the Act and Part 174.

The CAA says standard flight also continue to apply.

These are as follows:

(a) A pilot-in-command of an aircraft must not operate the aircraft under VFR—

(1) over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons at a height of less than 1000 feet above the surface or any obstacle that is within a horizontal radius of 600 metres from the point immediately below the aircraft; or

(2) over any other area—

(i) at a height of less than 500 feet above the surface; or

(ii) at a height of less than 500 feet above any obstacle, person, vehicle, vessel, or structure that is within a horizontal radius of 150 metres from the point immediately below the aircraft.

"In addition to the Civil Aviation Rule requirements, no aircraft may land on Whakaari/White Island without prior permission from the private landowner, unless as a result of an aircraft emergency situation.

" For more information see Parts 91 and 101 of the Civil Aviation Rules or for further questions email info@caa.govt.nz."

White Island's current alert level is at 1, with minor volcanic activity being observed by GBS scientists.

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