Airspace restrictions around Whakaari/White Island lifted by the Civil Aviation Authority

Restrictions have been in place since the December eruption.
Restrictions have been in place since the December eruption. Photo credit: Getty.

The airspace above and around Whakaari/White Island has been reopened by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) almost a year after restrictions were put in place following the eruption which killed 21 people on December 9, 2019.

Sean Rogers, manager of aeronautical services at the CAA says while the restrictions were lifted at the end of October, all other CAA rules must continue to be followed, particularly those rules for flying in the vicinity of a volcanic hazard zone.

"The rules include pilots not operating aircraft within a volcanic hazard zone during the night, or in bad weather," Rogers said.

While most commercial air operators are aware of the rules, the CAA will soon be visiting companies who may be interested in conducting scenic flights around Whakaari to ensure they fully understand the requirements.

Both public and professional videographers who may want to film around the island also need to be aware that CAA rules also apply if using a drone. Drone users cannot operate over the island unless they have prior consent from the landowner.

"Drones cannot be operated above 400 feet without approval and you cannot lose sight of your drone at any time. Drone users must also give way and remain well clear of all crewed aircraft," Rogers said.