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Airspace protection

It is essential that Perth Airport's airspace is protected - now and in future - to provide a safe, predictable environment for aircraft to arrive and depart in all weather conditions.


The Airports (Protection of Airspace) Regulations 1996 (the Regulations), prescribe airspace around airports for protection from activities that could pose a hazard to air navigation. These are referred to as controlled activities and include, but are not limited to:
  • construction or erection of any building or other structure that may intrude into prescribed airspace, including construction cranes
  • an activity that results in artificial or reflected light that exceeds acceptable light intensities or is capable of blinding or confusing pilots
  • an activity that results in air turbulence, and
  • an activity that results in the emissions of smoke, dust or other particulate matter.

Protected airspace comprises the airspace above the lower of three sets of defined invisible surfaces above the ground – known as the:

  • Obstacle Limitation Surfaces (OLS);
  • Procedures for Air Navigation Services - Aircraft Operations (PANS-OPS) surfaces; and
  • Communication, Navigation, and Surveillance (CNS) facility protection surfaces.

OLS defines the airspace that should ideally be kept free of obstacles. These surfaces only relate to visual operations or the visual stages of an instrument flight. The purpose of the OLS is not to restrict or prohibit all obstacles, but to ensure that existing or potential obstacles are examined for their impact on aircraft operations and that their presence is properly taken into account.

PANS-OPS surfaces define the airspace related to aircraft operations that are reliant on instrument navigation. PANS-OPS surfaces are not to be permanently infringed in any circumstance.

Copies of Perth Airport’s OLS and PANS-OPS airspace protection surfaces are available for download through the following links:

CNS protection surfaces are generally limited to the airport estate and protection ground based air navigation infrastructure.

For more information on the regulations and procedures please visit infrastructure.gov.au.

Approvals process

Persons wishing to undertake a controlled activity are required to apply to Perth Airport.

Under the Regulations it is an offence to:

  • carry out a controlled activity without approval;
  • contravene any conditions imposed on an approval; and
  • not give information to the airport operator that is relevant to a proposed activity.

Significant penalties, including fines of up to $40,000 (as of Jan 2016) may apply for offenders.

Perth Airport will assess the proposed activity and coordinate with the relevant authorities as required. Applications for activities that infringe the protected airspace of Perth Airport may be referred to Airservices and/or CASA for review before being submitted to the Commonwealth Government for approval.

Developments and structures of a short-term basis (up to three months), typically cranes/plant, may be approved by Perth Airport following consultation with Airservices and CASA.

Conditions may be imposed on an approval which will be monitored by Perth Airport and with any breach reported rectification will be required.

Note: Perth Airport will not approve, and will oppose any short-term proposals where the activity will affect the safety and efficiency of aircraft operations at Perth Airport.

For proposals on the Perth Airport estate, controlled activities are identified and addressed through Perth Airport’s development approvals and consent processes.

Applicants (such as developers, builders and crane operators) proposing to conduct activities in the vicinity of Perth Airport should check with Perth Airport or their local government agency at the earliest possible stage if there is any doubt an assessment and approval is required.

Crane and plant activities

Generally, airspace applications for crane/plant activity in the vicinity of Perth Airport are the most common and assessments can be quite time intensive whether an infringement is detected or not.
In order to improve the facilitation of applications for crane/plant activities Perth Airport has developed the new Protected Airspace Assessment Tool (PAAT).

PAAT is a free to use automated system that can assess cranes/plant against Perth Airport’s protected airspace, and automatically issue permits for activities that are found not to infringe Perth Airport’s protected airspace.

All applications for crane/plant activities to Perth Airport are to be submitted via the PAAT system. Users of PAAT will need to register in the PAAT system and sign a declaration before submitting any applications. 

A copy of the PAAT User Manual can be downloaded from the PAAT homepage.

Other activities and structures

Proposals for activities other than crane/plant operations or for structures, such as buildings, can be emailed to [email protected].