In general, the air traffic rules and procedures in force and the organisation of air traffic services are in conformity with ICAO standards, recommended practices and procedures.


‘Military separation’ is a procedure used in New Zealand to permit military pilots to arrange their separation between aircraft or to reduce the separation standards required between aircraft. Military separation is essentially the same as MARSA, and RAAF aircraft are permitted to use this procedure provided:

a. the use of military separation in joint exercises is planned and pre-briefed; or
b. if reduced separation is to be imposed in any other situation, prior agreement between the affected aircrew and ATC is obtained.



The pilot of an aircraft flying in accordance with IFR must comply with the position reporting procedures detailed in the following paragraphs.

Except when aircraft are maintaining an ATC required speed, any variation of average true airspeed, between reporting points, of plus or minus five percent must be notified to ATC as soon as possible.

Aircraft Equipped with an Operative Transponder

Aircraft under control of the following Towers must make all required position reports:

  • Gisborne
  • Napier
  • New Plymouth
  • Dunedin
  • Invercargill
  • Queenstown

AFIS Aerodromes

Pilots of all aircraft operating outside controlled airspace below 3000FT AGL within a radius of 10NM of an AFIS attended aerodrome are required to maintain a continuous listening watch on the frequency listed in ERSR and TAGR and make the inbound, in circuit, taking off and in transit calls listed below.

a. Inbound:,
i. overhead the navigation aid serving the aerodrome, or commencing instrument approach, or when established on a DME arc; and
ii. when established on final approach; and
iii. at the termination of the instrument procedure, i.e. when breaking off from the procedure to proceed in VMC to the aerodrome; and
iv. immediately before joining the aerodrome traffic circuit.
b. In circuit: downwind when abeam the upwind end of the RWY.
c. Taking off:
i. when about to taxi to the take-off position; and
ii. immediately before take-off. If leaving the aerodrome traffic circuit,the direction of flight should be indicated.
d. In transit: between 5-10NM from the aerodrome.
The first aircraft call is to be preceded by the name of the aerodrome followed by the words "FLIGHT SERVICE".

Position Reporting at Unattended Aerodromes

Unattended aerodromes include controlled or AFIS aerodromes outside the hours of attendance.

Position reporting requirements are the same as above.

Pilots are required to maintain a continuous listening watch on the appropriate frequency listed in ERSR, TAGR or on 119.1 MHZ if no frequency is listed.

Each aircraft transmission is to be preceded by the name of the aerodrome, followed by the word: "TRAFFIC".



Runway Selection - Unattended Aerodromes

At unattended aerodromes pilots are to conform with or avoid the aerodrome traffic circuit formed by other aircraft.
At unattended aerodromes when the use of simultaneous circuits is operationally required, the aircraft that forms an aerodrome traffic circuit first has priority, and other aircraft (including larger and higher performance aircraft) must conform with this pattern or avoid it.
However, when it is not clear which circuit pattern was formed first, pilots should consider that the runway with the least crosswind component has priority. In most cases, it would be expected that pilots conducting circuits on crosswind runways would manage their flights so as to avoid conflict with other aircraft under these circumstances.
If it is safe to do so, pilots of smaller aircraft are encouraged to allow large or higher performance aircraft to operate in the circuit necessary for this type of operation in the interests of fuel conservation, environmental impact and the lesser manoeuvring capability of these aircraft.


Where pilots wish to carry out simulated engine failure during or after take-off pilots must advise ATC of their intentions and obtain ATC approval before each manoeuvre. Pilots must report when the manoeuvre is complete.
Where pilots wish to carry out simulated emergency and training manoeuvres such as rejected take-off, helicopter autorotation, glide approaches, low approach and overshoot, pilots must advise ATC of their intentions and obtain ATC approval before each manoeuvre.
In all cases ATC may deny a request where other traffic may be unduly affected.



Standard Route Clearance Delivery System
Standard route clearances depicting designated routes between pairs of aerodromes servicing regular flights within the New Zealand FIR are published in AD 2, in the arrival/departure section of the departure aerodrome.
These routes are:

a. the ATS preferred route(s) between aerodrome of departure (ADEP) and aerodrome of destination (ADES); and
b. the most direct, commonly used route between ADEP and ADES taking into account ATM requirements (primary designated routes); or
c. alternative routes between ADEP and ADES, taking into account operational requirements where flight is precluded on the primary route (secondary designated routes); or
d. routes specified for special or restricted use.
The composition of a standard route clearance will be as follows: Example: WNNR 3
Where: WN is the aerodrome of departure (ADEP):
Wellington NR is the destination aerodrome (ADES): Napier 3 is the plan validity number
(1, 2 and 3 for primary designated route, 4, 5 and 6 for secondary route, and 7, 8 and 9 for an extra route).

Any change of any element of the route field of a standard route clearance will necessitate a change in the plan validity number.
Some standard route clearances to/from Auckland (including Ardmore), and to/from Wellington, include runway dependent options.
a. Where either of these locations is the ADES, runway-in-use will be issued as part of the clearance.
The pilot is to operate on the route applicable to runway-in-use at ADES.
b. Where either of these locations is the ADEP, the pilot is to operate on the route applicable to runway-in-use at ADEP.

The route field defines the route to be flown expressed as an ATS route designator, and may include a significant point followed by a further ATS route designator, and so on.
Where the departure aerodrome is not located on or connected to the ATS route, the NAVAID where the route is joined is listed, followed by the ATS route designator.
The route field may terminate with the NAVAID serving the instrument approach to the ADES where the ADES is not connected to the ATS route.
A standard route clearance may have more than one route option, being either:
a. via defined ATS routes based on the runway-in-use at the aerodrome of departure; or
b. via defined ATS routes, or arrival procedures applicable to the runway-in-use at the aerodrome of destination, or a combination of both.
When a standard route clearance with more than one route option is used, and the route option is based on the runway-in-use at ADES, the route clearance issued will include either:
a. The standard route clearance designator and runway-in-use at ADES; or
b. The standard route clearance designator and arrival procedure to be flown as per the runway-in-use at ADES; or
c. The arrival procedure to be flown as per the runway-in-use at ADES.
Where a standard route clearance with more than one route option is used, and the route option is based on the runway-in-use at ADEP, the pilot is to operate on the route applicable to the runway-in-use at ADEP.
For traffic management purposes, some route fields may contain diversionary climb requirements, ATC maintains, or have altitude figures appended in brackets.
Altitude figures appended to the standard route clearance relate to:
a. an MFA applicable to permanent special use airspace; or
b. a MNM or MAX altitude applicable to the use of the standard route clearance; or
c. where two or more options are available they relate to high/low level or primary/secondary options; or
d. ATM requirements.
The clearance will normally be passed in response to a pilot advising level and alternate requirements prior to start.
The SID will normally be issued in conjunction with the clearance, but at some domestic aerodromes departure and separation instructions will be issued separately.
The departure aerodrome will not be included in the clearance, and if the level instructions involve an altitude, the word "AT" will be used between the route instructions and the level instructions.
Cleared Napier 3 FL170 Titahi Bay 2 departure Squawk 5330” or “Cleared Nelson 3 at 10000FT South 1 Foxtrot departure Squawk 5717
The clearance must be read back as issued.
When a pilot wishes to change the route details of a flight planned on a designated route, a request detailing the route shall be made to ATS prior to start.
There may be some delay involved in the issue of a clearance in such instances due to the extra coordination required within the ATC system.
A full route clearance will be issued.
It is the pilot’s responsibility (and not a designated agent) to give notification of such a change.
Alternatively a pilot can advise prior to starting of a change from the filed standard route clearance to another standard route clearance.
If acceptable to ATS the clearance will be issued using the new standard route clearance to define the route.
Standard route clearances are available for use by all operators.

Level Instructions

Levels issued to IFR flights in an ATC clearance will enable the flight to be conducted at or above the MFA for each applicable route sector, except that:
a. compliance with MEA or MRA is not required if the aircraft has approved en route area navigation equipment (i.e. GNSS); and
b. radar display contour levels may be used for aircraft under radar control; and
c. an approved area Minimum Safe Altitude may be used where the aircraft is expected to be established en route under radar control and no lateral separation restrictions apply.
For aircraft on un-evaluated routes paragraph 7.2.1 (b) and (c) apply.


Vertical separation between controlled flights is 1000FT below FL290, or 2000FT above FL290, except that this may be reduced to 1000FT in RVSM airspace if both aircraft are RVSM approved.
The 1000FT standard may be reduced to 500FT within controlled airspace providing both aircraft are medium or light weight category aircraft, and the lower aircraft is VFR or SVFR operating at an altitude of 4500FT or below.
Where vertical separation from Special Use Airspace is required, controlled flights will be required to fly at levels which ensure the separation minima specified in the table below, above or below the airspace.
Where no minimum is specified aircraft will be kept clear of the airspace Vertical Separation Minima from Special Use Airspace.



Geographical separation is achieved by requiring one or more aircraft, which are operating by visual reference, to follow tracks identified by prominent geographical features, landmarks or visual reporting points, or to remain within specified CTR/CTA sectors, which have been determined as being geographically separated from other tracks or procedures.
Geographical separation may be applied within terminal control areas and CTR up to 6000FT AMSL.
Navigating by visual reference in order to achieve geographical separation requires aircraft to use Visual Navigation Charts or an electronic equivalent.
For flights when either a visual departure or visual approach might be anticipated appropriate visual navigation charts or an electronic equivalent should be carried.



At controlled aerodromes the phraseology "RUNWAY (number)" will be used with the exception that where there are two parallel runways with different surfaces (paved and unpaved), and the runway designators are the same (e.g. both are designated 18/36), the following will apply:
a. the phraseology "GRASS (number)" will be used to describe the unpaved or partially paved runway; and
b. the phraseology "SEAL (number)" will be used to describe the paved runway if the aircraft in question is capable of landing on either parallel runway, or
c. the phraseology "RUNWAY (number)" will be used to describe the paved runway if the aircraft in question is not capable of landing on the unpaved parallel runway.


The wake turbulence separation minima in the table below will be applied to aircraft in all phases of flight when:
a. an aircraft is operating directly behind (0.5NM laterally) another aircraft at the same level or less than 1,000FT below (this includes reciprocal track aircraft after passing); or
b. an aircraft is crossing behind another aircraft at the same level or less than 1,000FT below; or
c. both aircraft are using the same runway, or parallel runways separated by less than 760M.


Whenever the distance between an aircraft, at the same level or less than 1,000FT below and following an aircraft of heavier wake turbulence category, is less than the equivalent of 2 minutes flying time, ATC will issue a caution of possible wake turbulence.


VFR flights shall be conducted so that the aircraft is flown in conditions of visibility and distance from clouds equal to or greater than those specified below except as provided for special VFR operations.


Exceptions to VFR MET Minima

Aircraft captains of:
a. a helicopter may operate in Class G airspace with a flight visibility of less than 5KM if operated at a speed that will give adequate opportunity to observe other traffic or any obstructions in order to avoid collisions;
b. an aircraft performing agricultural aircraft operations, may operate in Class G airspace with a flight visibility of less than 5KM but not less than 1500M;
c. an aircraft performing flight instruction may operate within a low flying area with a flight visibility of less than 5KM but not less than 1500M.


An aircraft captain is allowed to perform a VFR operation within a CTR in weather conditions below those prescribed, provided that the operation is performed:
a. in compliance with an ATC clearance and ATC instructions;
b. by day only;
c. clear of clouds;
d. with the ceiling and visibility detailed in paragraph 2.2 except that helicopters may operate with lower minima, if the helicopter is operated at a speed that will give adequate opportunity to observe other traffic or any obstruction in order to avoid collisions; and
e. in an aircraft equipped with two radio capable of communicating with ATC on the appropriate frequency.

Special VFR minima. Ceiling 600FT, visibility 1500M.
Separation will be provided between SVFR flights and IFR flights.
Separation will also be provided between SVFR flights when the flight visibility is less than 5000M.
Requests for authorisation to enter or transit a CTR as an SVFR flight may be made by radio or telephone.
All requests must specify the ETA for the selected entry point and must be made five to ten minutes before that time.
Authorisation to operate as an SVFR flight does not absolve the pilot from compliance with New Zealand Civil Aviation Rules and Regulations regarding minimum heights for VFR flight.


Except for flight under Special VFR, a pilot is not permitted to take-off or land an aircraft, or fly in the vicinity of an aerodrome under VFR when the flight visibility, or cloud ceiling, is less than the minima summarised in paragraphs 3.2 and 3.3.
VFR MET Minima at aerodromes within a control zone:


Whenuapai CTR/Whenuapai MBZ (NZB172)
Before entering Whenuapai CTR/D/MBZ, pilots must listen to Whenuapai ATIS 128.3 MHZ and check if the tower is on watch.
If the tower is unattended, Whenuapai Mandatory Broadcast Zone (NZB172) is active and pilots should:
a. broadcast their intentions;
b. monitor 134.5 MHZ; and
c. operate their anti collision and/or landing lights if fitted.
A Military Operating Area (NZM107) is contained within the Whenuapai CTR/D and MBZ, active H24, to protect Whenuapai operations.
There is considerable local traffic at Whenuapai on weekends and public holidays, including parachuting, gliding and local training flights.
Winch launching and aero-towing of gliders up to 3500FT takes place from Whenuapai aerodrome.
Transiting flights must remain well clear of the Whenuapai traffic circuit.
Whangaparaoa VFR transit lane (T157) is crossed by instrument approach tracks to Whenuapai.
VFR traffic in this lane must remain 1000FT or below and look out for IFR traffic crossing Whangaparaoa VFR transit lane on approach to Whenuapai.

Manawatu-Ohakea Area
Extensive general aviation activities take place around Feilding, especially on the weekends and public holidays. Feilding Common Frequency Zone (NZC376) MHZ applies.
Extensive low level training and transiting flights take place in the area between Palmerston North, Foxpine and Levin.
Aircraft operating within the Manawatu Common Frequency Zone (NZC377) should listen out on 122.6 MHZ and transmit position, altitude and intentions as required.
Aircraft operating along the coast between Whangaehu River mouth and Manawatu River mouth should listen to Ohakea FISB 124.5 MHZ, or telephone Ohakea Tower +64 6 351 5422, or RNZAF Base Ohakea Operations 0800 RUNWAY (0800 786 929), for status of NZM306.
Aircraft to remain seaward of the coast and are only permitted to enter the portion of NZM306 over the sea, without Ohakea ATC approval, if it is known to be inactive.
If NZM306 is active, aircraft are to remain 4NM seaward of the coast (12 OH DME) and below 1500FT AMSL.
Aircraft may call Ohakea Control 125.1 MHZ for assistance to remain clear of NZM306.
If NZM306 is inactive aircraft are to remain in NZM306 no longer than 10 minutes.
Caution: aircraft may be operating in the opposite direction.
Expect extensive military activity about the coastline during weekdays and helicopter underslung load training in vicinity of visual reporting point Raumai.
When using NZT354 (Oroua) SFC to 1000FT extra precaution is required to ensure you remain within the confines of the transit lane.
Arrivals and departures to/ from Ohakea and Palmerston North operate above and adjacent to this transit lane.
Transponder equipped aircraft should operate transponder on mode A and C, and listen out on Feilding traffic frequency 124.1 MHZ.
Vigilance is required when using power lines to navigate between Wanganui and Feilding clear of NZM310. Ensure the northern most power lines are selected.

Mount Cook/Westland In valley systems all pilots should fly on the right hand side (relative to the direction of travel), if it is practical to do so. If an orbit is necessary, turns should be to the left if terrain and weather conditions permit.
Itinerant pilots conducting flights into the Mount Cook area should note the following procedures:
a. In addition to the entry report to the Southern Alps MBZ, reports should be made at regular intervals (no more than 15 minutes apart in accordance with MBZ requirements) on frequency 118.6 MHZ when passing readily identifiable geographical features.
Some visual reporting points in the Mount Cook area may be difficult for unfamiliar pilots to discern.
Report using terms like ‘head’, ‘upper’, ‘middle’ and ‘lower’ for positions along glaciers, valleys and ranges or in relation to main features such as Mount Tasman.
b. Transmit reports ‘blind’, giving callsign, position, level and direction of travel. Limit radio use to position reports and brief essential calls.
c. Keep a good lookout for other aircraft, including fixed wing, rotary, glider and hang glider traffic that may be operating in this confined area at peak periods of activity.
d. Avoid flight in valleys by flying at higher altitudes at least 1500FT AGL over ridges and passes.
e. Use landing and/or anti-collision lights, if equipped, in accordance with MBZ requirements.
f. Numerous reporting points not depicted on the charts are used by local operators.
g. Caution: Very high helicopter traffic densities flying in the Fox and Franz Josef valleys.
h. Peak traffic times are from November to March, between 1000-1430 local.
i. Please avoid flying in the following noise sensitive areas:
1) Near the summit and the summit ridge of Mount Cook.
2) In the upper Hooker Valley and the entire Mueller Valley below 8000FT, including the Ball Pass area, and in the lower Hooker Valley below 6000FT.


Most commonly used routes are depicted on ERC and/or T-01 and T-02 and include the following information:
a. Radio facilities defining routes or used to determine reporting points;
b. Magnetic tracks;
c. VOR radials and distances;
d. Minimum safe altitudes;
e. DME en route descents;
f. Designated reporting points;
g. Route limitations; and
h. Radio facility change-over points.

Reporting Points
Designated reporting points are depicted as compulsory or non compulsory on ERC and Terminal charts.
Adherence to Track
Unless otherwise authorised or directed by ATC, flights must, in so far as is practicable:
a. When on a promulgated route, operate along the centre line of that route; or
b. when on any other route, operate directly between the navigation facilities and/or points defining the route.
Deviation from Track If an aircraft deviates from the centreline of a route or if the performance of the radio navigation facilities are such that accurate track keeping may not be possible the pilot shall immediately advise ATS. Within controlled airspace, where an aircraft has been vectored off track by radar, or the aircraft has deviated off track due to weather or radio navigation difficulties, the aircraft shall regain track by making a standard 30° intercept. The aircraft should turn in the direction that covers the least track miles. ATC may approve greater or lesser intercepts of track.
Deviation from track - Oceanic. If an aircraft on a long overwater flight has inadvertently deviated from the route specified in its ATC clearance, immediate action must be taken to regain such route within 200NM and notify ATC.
Deviation from Flight Plan
Variation in True Airspeed. Except when aircraft are maintaining an ATC required mach number, any variation of average true airspeed, between reporting points, of plus or minus five per cent shall be notified to ATC as soon as possible.
Revision to estimates. Pilots shall report to ATC a corrected estimate for the next significant point at any time it becomes apparent that an estimate previously submitted is in error in excess of two minutes.
Routing to Avoid Hazardous MET Conditions
When ATC is aware that hazardous MET conditions exist along the route or flight path of the aircraft, the pilot will be warned of such conditions and, where possible in controlled airspace, ATC will offer the pilot alternative routing to avoid such conditions.
When alternative routing is not available, or the pilot elects to proceed through the conditions, increased separation may be provided by ATC. In Class C, D and E airspaces except VFR flights in Class E airspace by day, aircraft wishing to detour around adverse weather must obtain clearance from ATC. This is necessary to ensure that horizontal separation is not infringed.
Routing to Avoid General Aviation Areas.
Unless specifically requested by a pilot, ATC will not clear IFR flights through active General Aviation areas. ATC clearances will be designed to keep aircraft clear of these areas.
Maintaining Own Separation in VMC
In Class D and E airspace, when requested by a pilot, an IFR flight operating in VMC during the hours if daylight may be cleared to fly subject to maintaining own separation and remaining in VMC.
This procedure will not be approved between two aircraft receiving a radar control service.
When an IFR flight is so cleared, the following will apply:
a. pilots of all flights which will be essential traffic must agree with the application of the procedure;
b. the flights concerned must be on the same ATC frequency;
c. the clearance will be for a specified portion of the flight during climb or descent to a clearly defined separation level, position or time;
d. if there is a possibility that flight under VMC may become impracticable, an IFR flight will be provided with alternative instructions to be complied with in the event that flight in VMC cannot be maintained for the term of the clearance or if alternative instructions are not available this clearance will not be issued;
e. on observing that conditions are deteriorating and considering that operation in VMC will become impossible, the pilot of an IFR flight must inform ATC and receive alternative instructions before entering IMC and then proceed in accordance with the alternate instructions given;
f. essential traffic information will be passed to all affected flights.
A clearance will be withheld where it is considered that other flights may be adversely affected or an orderly flow of traffic prejudiced.

Separation of IFR Flights Outside Controlled Airspace

When a flight is being conducted under IFR outside controlled airspace, the aircraft captain is responsible for maintaining his own separation from other traffic.
To assist the pilot in providing his own separation from other traffic, the appropriate ATS unit will, in addition to passing collision hazard information as part of a flight information service, on request from the pilot pass information on the movement of other IFR flights in the area:
a. Prior to departure.
b. Prior to level change.
c. Prior to vacating controlled airspace.
d. En route as required.
e. Prior to commencing an instrument approach.

The phrase “NO REPORTED IFR TRAFFIC” will be used when no IFR flights are known to be in the area.
Pilots departing from unattended aerodromes are to obtain traffic information either by telephone from the nearest ATS unit or by radio if it is known that two-way communication can be established with ATS prior to departure or prior to entering IMC.

An IFR flight operating outside controlled airspace is required to:
a. maintain a listening watch on the appropriate frequency;
b. establish two-way communication as necessary with the air traffic services unit providing flight information; and
c. report:
1) Departure time as soon as practicable after departure from an unattended aerodrome.
2) Position en route at intervals not exceeding 30 minutes.
3) When changing level.
4) Prior to entering controlled airspace.
5) Prior to commencing an instrument approach at an unattended aerodrome.
Information on the movement of other IFR flights will include information on IFR flights operating in the vicinity of the track of the aircraft concerned at the same level or at a level through which the aircraft will pass.

Oceanic Procedures Communications.

Aircraft en route within the Auckland OCA/A and aircraft operating IFR within the Auckland Oceanic FIR are required to maintain a continuous listening watch on the frequency assigned by the Air/Ground control station.
Note: The requirement to maintain a continuous listening watch using HF may be met by the use of “SELCAL”.
On reaching the New Zealand FIR boundary, or when instructed by Oceanic Control, aircraft that are to enter the New Zealand FIR must establish contact on VHF with the appropriate area control centre. Outbound aircraft must transfer communications as instructed by ATC.
Note: In the Asia/Pacific areas 123.45 MHZ is available for exclusive use as an Air-to-Air communications channel over remote and oceanic areas out of range of VHF ground stations.
Change of en route level.
Pilots intending to change level while en route should request clearance for such change as far in advance of the desired time as is practicable, using the phrase: “REQUEST CLIMB/DESCENT TO....(Level) AT....(time)”.
This is particularly important when an aircraft is proceeding from one oceanic control area to another in order to provide sufficient time for coordination to be carried out between the Oceanic Area Control Centres concerned and for the ATC clearance to be issued at or before the requested time.
Pilots are required to report when reaching and leaving assigned levels, and at other times when so required by ATC.
Note: Even though a proposed change of level en route is shown on a filed flight plan, an aircraft shall not change level without a specific ATC clearance.
Position reporting - Charted ATS routes.
The AIREP form of report is to be used. Aircraft must transmit Sections 1 and 3 at designated compulsory MET reporting points and waypoints, and Section 1 of the AIREP at other designated compulsory reporting points and waypoints.
Additional reports are to be transmitted if so requested by ATC. For reporting points over a navigation aid, and for those reporting points located over water, aircraft must report at the reporting point if immediately over the reporting point. If not immediately over the reporting point, the report must give either the true bearing and distance from the reporting point when abeam the position, or, if a terminal VOR and DME can be utilised, the distance from the terminal and the radial being flown.
Position Reporting - Uncharted Routes. When on uncharted routes, aircraft are to report position at intervals of 5° or 10° of latitude or longitude (latitude if the aircraft is predominantly north-south, longitude if east-west) north or south of the equator or east or west of the 180° meridian. 10° is to be used if the aircraft traverses 10° in 1 hour and 20 minutes or less.
Aircraft on diagonal tracks are to report at intervals not exceeding 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The AIREP form of report must be used with Section 1 being transmitted at all fixes defining the route.