Flying drones/remotely piloted aircraft in the vicinity of Cairns Airport.


Drones are becoming ever more popular and it is important that users understand the safety rules and safety issues associated with drone operations. It is also important that user are aware of the licencing requirements that may apply to these activities.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has developed rules which strictly prohibit unmanned aircraft being flown in a manner that creates a hazard to an aircraft departing or approaching an airport. 

Australia’s safety laws regarding drone or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s), also known as remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), as defined in the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Part 101, vary depending on whether you are flying for recreational, sport or commercial purposes.

For detailed regulatory information surrounding CASA’s regulations for Remotely Piloted Aircraft in Australia go to:

Recreational Use (within 5.5 km of Cairns Airport)

Due to safety concerns, the use of drones, UAV or RPA for recreational and sporting purposes is not permitted. (Refer to the conditions on the CASA Website)


Commercial Use

There are certain circumstances, for commercial purposes only, where permission may be granted to operate a drone on or near Cairns Airport. When flying for money or any form of commercial gain, you may need to be licenced and certified as an operator or work for a certified operator.

Check the CASA web page for information regarding commercial drone operations to ensure that you understand everything that you need to know.

Cairns Airport is committed to the safe operation of our aerodrome including the safety and security of our visitors, staff, local residents and airport tenants.

Any RPA usage that is in breach of regulatory requirements will be reported to CASA who may impose infringement notices that result in a significant fine (in excess of $10,000 AUD) per offence.

In addition to all regulatory approvals, Cairns Airport must also be notified of the commercial use of RPA’s. Notification must include the nature of the RPA usage, flight details, operator details (including primary contact) and regulatory approvals information/references.

Please notify Cairns Airport via email at and include the text ‘RPA (DRONE) USAGE’ in the Subject field.

If the intended RPA usage is for filming or photography purposes, please also complete an APPLICATION FOR FILMING OR PHOTOGRAPHY AT CAIRNS AIRPORT. 

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Helpful Information

 Information regarding CASA’s regulations for RPA usage can be found at:


Information regarding Airservices RPA policy can be found at:


Cairns Airport encourages the reporting of the illegal usage of RPA’s in the vicinity of the airport. This can be done through CASA at: