Firefighters were called to Tauranga Airport at first light today after a fire was seen burning in the area.
The call came in at 7.13am.
Fire Northern Communications shift manager Colin Underdown said reports had come in that a smoke coukld be seen billowing from the area of the western end of the airport, near the water's edge.
This turned out to be a controlled rubbish fire, which had a permit until 10am, Mr Underdown said.
Air New Zealand staff told a reporter at the scene the incident was a training exercise.
The New Zealand Fire Service was not aware of this.