Drone / Unmanned Aircraft Flying


The use of drones is a very rapidly developing part of the aviation scene, and we’re very keen to work with owners /operators to promote their safe use, both in the vicinity of City Airport in and in general.

What are the rules?

The Civil Aviation Authority are the regulator responsible for civilian aviation in the UK,  as well as manned aircraft this extends to unmanned aircraft of all sizes. 

When flying there are specific rules that must be observed. Civil Aviation Authority permission, or the permission of our Air Traffic unit, may be required for certain flights depending on where you plan to fly the drone.

Information about safety rules that apply can be found on the CAA website here: www.caa.co.uk/drones

The CAA have published a Drone Code to assist users of drones to ensure flights are conducted safely and legally, without endangering others.

The Drone Code

  • Always keep your drone in sight
  • Stay below 400ft at all times  (operating a drone anywhere in the UK above 400ft is a criminal offence without the permission of the Civil Aviation Authority)
  • Every time you fly your drone you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Keep the right distance from people and property (This means 50m/150ft from people and properties and 150m/500ft from crowds and built up areas)
  • You are responsible for each flight (Failure to fly responsibly could result in criminal prosecution)
  • Stay WELL AWAY from aircraft, airports and airfields

Find our more about the Drone Code and how to fly safety at  – www.dronesafe.uk

Another independent source of information is Drone Safety UK 

Can I fly close to City Airport?

As per the Drone Code above, you must stay well away from aircraft, airports and airfields. If your drone endangers the safety of an aircraft, no matter where you are operating, it is a criminal offence and this can carry a prison sentence of up to five years.

City Airport has an ‘Aerodrome Traffic Zone’ (ATZ), – an area of regulated airspace of 2 nautical miles radius around the airfield, designed to provide protection to aircraft landing and departing from us, (see map below). Within the ATZ, helicopters and aircraft can be expected at heights down to ground level  as they arrive to land or take-off.


In order to ensure compliance with the Drone Code, and to reduce the risk of a drone endangering the safety of any aircraft, we strongly recommend that you should not fly a drone at any height within this area (the large circular area on the map below), without first contacting us. This allows us to consider your requirements and, where possible we will work with you to ensure your flight can be achieved safely. 


The Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018 will made it a criminal offence from 30th July 2018 to operate a drone within the airfield boundary, (the inner outlined area on the map), at any height, at at any time, without our permission.   You must not operate a drone in this area without our express agreement.

In addition, from 30th July 2018, it became a criminal offence to fly a drone during the operating hours of the airfield, within 1 kilometre of the airfield’s boundary (roughly the shaded area in the map). You must not operate a drone in this area without our express agreement.

(The full text of the Air Navigation (Amendment) Order  2018 can be found here )

Drone operators should also bear in mind the close proximity of Manchester Airport – please see their website for more details.

You can contact us specifically regarding drone operations by completing the form below.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Confirm Email

Your Telephone

Please give us details about your planned drone flight, including date and times (or time period), and a specific location.

We would encourage all drone operators to download the free ‘Drone Assist’ app from NATS for iOS and Android  to assist them in flying legally and safely. 


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