Skybase cancels Central Otago airspace application

The Christchurch company that applied to establish 500sq km of restricted airspace in Central Otago has today announced it has cancelled its application.

But, Skybase chief executive Michael Read said in an open letter, the company will make a second application in the coming weeks.

Today was to be the final day for submissions to the Civil Aviation Authority on the original application.

In his letter, Mr Read said memorandums of understanding and operating agreements with "various groups'' were in progress with the aim of making the area safely accessible for all.

Last month, the Otago Daily Times reported Alexandra aviators were planning legal action over the application.

However, today Mr Read wrote the company was "beginning to enjoy a groundswell of support'' from some who saw the benefit for testing advanced "beyond line of sight'' unmanned aircraft, or drones.

Skybase has been operating unmanned aircraft in Alexandra since 2017.

Mr Read says the "beyond line of sight'' advancements would have immediate benefits for fire-fighting, police, and search and rescue operations. 

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