Information for Crane Operators: The need for approval to operate cranes in protected airspace. Crane operations in the vicinity of an airport have the potential to create air safety hazards and to seriously limit the airport’s operations. For this reason, they are required by law to be assessed and approved under the Commonwealth’s Airports (Protection of Airspace) Regulations. It is an offence under Section 183 of the Airports Act 1996 to carry out, without approval, crane operations which intrude into an airport’s protected airspace. This offence is punishable by a fine of up to 250 penalty units. It is an offence under Section 185 of the Act to contravene any conditions imposed on an approval. It is also an offence under Section 186 of the Act not to give information to the airport operator that is relevant to a proposed controlled activity. How do you apply? Applications to carry out crane operations should be made in writing to Mackay Airport at least 48 hours prior to the commencement of any activity. You should complete the relevant application form (temporary or permanent structure) and email or fax it to the contact provided on the application form. Applications submitted with less than 48 hours notice may not be considered. 

On some occasions, this information needs to be reviewed in consultation with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Airservices Australia once provided. This process can take up to six weeks depending on the height and location of the obstacle. As a result, it is critical that consultation with the airport on any major projects is undertaken at an early stage. The information required in the application must include:

  • the nature of the proposed activity (ie crane operations)
  • its precise location (street directory grid references can be used)
  • the maximum height of the crane above Australian Height Datum (AHD)
  • whether there is any marking or lighting installed on the crane
  • proposed operating hours, and any other relevant information.

The Mackay Regional Council MiMaps website is a useful tool when determining the location of your crane or obstacle and its vicinity to the aerodrome. Go to and click Accept at the top of the page. Expand the ‘Planning Schemes’ and tick ‘Airport Obstacle Limitation Surfaces’. Then click back on ‘Planning Schemes’ and then zoom into the Mackay Airport area. Conditions of Approval An approval may carry conditions relating to how the operation must be carried out. These conditions may include marking or lighting, the hours or weather conditions in which the crane can operate, or requirements to maintain contact with the airport during the operation. Further information is available here or by contacting the Mackay Airport Safety Officer.