Aircraft and helicopters


You require permission from The Governor of Svalbard to operate aircraft in Svalbard. This does not apply to regular scheduled services to and from Svalbard and between the settlements in Svalbard.

The use of aircraft is regulated by the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act and the “Regulations relating to motor traffic in Svalbard” (Motorferdselsforskriften). In addition, there are separate provisions on the use of aircraft in the protected areas.

According to the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act and the regulations, an aircraft is specified as a mode of transportation for use in the air that is powered by an engine.

The following aircraft activity requires permission from the office of the Governor of Svalbard:

  • Flying closer than one nautical mile from large, known concentrations of mammals and birds, cf. Section 83 in the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act.
  • Landing an aircraft on a ship, land or water outside of a landing site that has been licensed or approved in accordance with the Aviation Act, cf. Section 83 of the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act.
  • Use of aircraft for sightseeing, cf. Section 11 of the “Regulations relating to motor traffic in Svalbard”.
  • Landing in or flying below 300 metres in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park, Forlandet National Park, Nordvest-Spitsbergen National Park, Indre Wijdefjorden National Park, Sassen–Bünsow Land National Park, Nordenskiöld Land National Park, Nordre Isfjorden National Park and Festningen Geotope Protected Area.
  • Landing in or flying below 500 metres in Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, Søraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, all the bird reserves, Bjørnøya Nature Reserve, Ossian Sars Nature Reserve and Hopen Nature Reserve.
  • Flying below 500 metres in the Moffen Nature Reserve between 15 May and 15 September.

The Governor of Svalbard has adopted a restrictive approach to granting such permits based on the strict level of protection in the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act. Central to the assessment will be the purpose of the application, the risk of environmental damage as a result of the transport as well as the goal of having limited motorised traffic in Svalbard.