John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Bylaw tightens rules governing city's airport

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Sly parking around the airport grounds to avoid paying fees was addressed in the bylaw.
Sly parking around the airport grounds to avoid paying fees was addressed in the bylaw.

Protesters organising a rowdy reception for someone arriving at Tauranga Airport will need to get permission from the airport manager first.

Rules governing the operation of the airport have been formalised for the first time into a council bylaw.

The draft bylaw was approved by the council this week and goes out for public consultation from April 18 to May 20.

Council corporate and policy planner Jane Barnett said the bylaw formalised many of the current rules and provided an additional tool to enforce the effective management of the airport for the safety of users.

Written approval would be needed to "hold or participate in a reception, meeting, parade, exhibition, display, march or organised assembly".

The airport manager could withhold permission on the grounds of public safety, airport security, maintaining order and preventing insulting or offensive behaviour.

Airport manager Ray Dumble said it was not about being horrible. They already had the ability to trespass people under Civil Aviation laws but he had never needed to use it.

The only new rule was the ability to move a car without the owner's permission if it was in the way of works, he said.

Sly parking around the airport grounds to avoid paying fees was addressed in the bylaw. No one would be allowed to drive or park a vehicle on any part of the airport that was not marked as a road.

Mr Dumble said most people who parked away from car parks were waiting for a plane to arrive. "We get very little car parking avoidance."

The speed limit in the airport stayed at 30km/h and the free public loading and unloading carparks must be for "as long as is reasonably needed to do so".

Hollywood-style manoeuvres on runways were expressly forbidden. "A driver or person in charge of a vehicle must not obstruct or try to obstruct a moving aircraft," the bylaw said.

Trying to drive around barrier arms to avoid paying was forbidden.

Taxi drivers could only pick up passengers if they had a licence from the council, and anyone in charge of a vehicle must remove it from the airport if requested.

Tauranga's busy airport:

* Flight movements last 12 months: 50,000

* Passengers through terminal last 12 months: 302,000

* Upgrades approved December 2015: $4.5 million

- Bay of Plenty Times

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