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Tall Equipment Permit

Information about the permitted height of any tall equipment operating in the vicinity of Manchester Airport.


The permitted height of any tall equipment operating in the vicinity of Manchester Airport is governed by a series of horizontal and inclined planes that are collectively named Obstacle Limitation Surfaces – a simplified series of generic surfaces is shown below.

Obstacle Limitation Surfaces (OLS) represent the lower limit of the blocks of protected airspace around an aerodrome. They are a complex set of 3-Dimensional surfaces, which extend upwards and outwards from the runway(s). The OLS completely surround the aerodrome, but those surfaces aligned with the runway(s) used to protect arriving or departing aircraft can be more restrictive than those surrounding the rest of the aerodrome.

Anyone who wishes to operate cranes or other tall equipment within 6 kilometres of the Aerodrome boundary and at heights of more than 10m Above Ground Level (AGL) or that of surrounding trees or structures must receive prior permission and a Tall Equipment Permit from Manchester Airport, Airfield Operations, Safety & Compliance.

Operators of exceptionally tall equipment (greater than 50m AGL) are advised to consult Manchester Airport if operating within 15km of the Aerodrome Boundary.

Consultation with Manchester Airport.

The developer or equipment operator should approach the airport at least 21 days in advance of planned start date so that the proposed operation can be assessed for any impact on Obstacle Limitation Surfaces.

The applicant will be required to provide the following details to enable an assessment to be made;

  • Precise location of the equipment – Provide either six figure, National Grid Eastings/Northings or Latitude/Longitude along with postal address.
  • Required operating height in metres above ground level (AGL).
  • Intended dates and times of operation.
  • Applicant's name and contact details.
  • Type of equipment to be used – eg: Mobile crane, piling rig.
  • Purpose of operation.

Approval Process.

Upon receipt of the above information, Manchester Airport, Airfield Safety &  Compliance will carry out an obstacle assessment to assess the impact on Obstacle Limitation Surfaces and/or navigational aids.


Provided that the operational impact is acceptable, a signed-off Tall Equipment Permit (Form TE01) will be issued to the applicant.

 Approval may be granted subject operating conditions such as mandatory use of a red obstacle light, operations restricted to a certain height or operations dependant on the runway in use.In certain circumstances, where the operation of tall equipment would penetrate one or more Obstacle Limitation Surfaces, Manchester Airport may be required to seek further approvals from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) before authorising the operation, as there may be implications for Instrument Flight Procedures which flight crews must be made aware of.

If CAA approval is required, Manchester Airport will make the applicant aware of this, and it should be noted that the CAA levy a consultation fee of £400, which will be payable by the applicant. From the time of contact with the CAA, it can take up to 21 days to gain operating approval.

Failure to notify Manchester Airport at least 21 days in advance of planned start of operations may result in delayed issue of a Tall Equipment Permit.

Code of Practice.

The attention of a crane or other tall equipment operator should be brought to the British Standard Institute Code of Practice for the safe use of crane, BS 7121-1:2006: paragraph 12.3.3 which states;

“If a crane is to be used within 6 km of an aerodrome/airfield and its height exceeds 10m or that of surrounding structures or trees, if higher, the appointed person should consult the aerodrome/airfield manager for prior permission to work. Restrictions could be placed on the overall height of the crane and there could be a requirement to fit a warning (obstacle) lights to the top of the crane."

NOTE: The Air Navigation Order [17] makes it an offence to act recklessly

or negligently in a manner likely to endanger aircraft.”

 Endangering the Safety of an Aircraft

The use of a crane in a Safeguarded zone, where its operations infringe an Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) is a serious offence. Such a breach of statutory duty even without incident, is an offence and legal action may be taken under the Air Navigation Order 2000, Article 63, which states 'A person shall not recklessly or negligently act in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft, or any person therein' (ANO, 2000).

Obstacle Lighting.

If the use of an obstacle light is listed as an operating condition on a Tall Equipment Permit, it’s use is mandatory and the light must have the following characteristics;

  • STEADY red light
  • 200 or 2000 candela (as specified by Manchester Airport).
  • Omni-directional.
  • Displayed at the crane’s highest point.

Amendments to previously issued Permits.

If during the course of an operation, any of the details recorded on the Tall Equipment Permit change, the developer or equipment operator must inform Manchester Airport at the earliest opportunity. It may be necessary to amend the permit or issue a new one.


Better safe than sorry! Always consult Manchester Airport if you are going to be operating tall equipment in the vicinity of the aerodrome. We are happy to assist and cooperate with equipment operators to ensure work can go ahead without presenting a hazard to aircraft.

Contact details: Tel: 0161 489 6114


Further information.