Steps for flying aircraft to New Zealand
If you fly an aircraft to New Zealand, you need to plan ahead because aircraft can also bring pests and diseases that don't exist in New Zealand. Special procedures help reduce this biosecurity risk. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.
Follow the steps
All aircraft are subject to these requirements
This process is for:
- charter planes
- courier planes
- commercial airlines (including air freight)
- corporate planes
- private aircraft
- military aircraft.
No matter how long your aircraft is going to remain in New Zealand, the person in charge must meet the requirements. A person in charge is usually the aircraft or airline operator or the captain.
Refer to other sections of the website if you're:
- importing aircraft or aircraft parts that arrive in New Zealand as cargo
- arriving in New Zealand as an airline passenger
To arrive in New Zealand by aircraft you must:
- apply to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for entry into New Zealand
- fly to a designated Place of First Arrival
- disinsect your aircraft
- be aware that your food, rubbish, and waste will be destroyed
- comply with requirements from other New Zealand government agencies, for example NZ Customs Service or the CAA. [PDF, 200 KB]
Find out more
- Visit CAA's website
- Places of First Arrival – airports
- Review NZ Customs Service information about arriving by private aircraft
New aircraft arrival requirements from May 2015
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released a Craft Risk Management Standard (CRMS) for Aircraft from All Countries. This sets the requirements that must be met before, or on arrival in New Zealand, including aircraft disinsection. Requirements will be compulsory for all arriving aircraft from 11 May 2015.
A guidance document is available to help aircraft operators comply with the standard.
Apply for entry into New Zealand
The person in charge of the aircraft, usually the captain or airline operator, must notify the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) about the planned flight.
Advise NZ Customs Service
You must notify the NZ Customs Service of your intention to land in New Zealand. At least 2 hours' prior notice – but preferably 24 hours' notice – is needed. Information about your flight should include the estimated time and place of arrival.
Email your intentions to ITOCOPS@customs.govt.nz.
You'll need to attach to your email an Inward Report about your aircraft. The form is available on the NZ Customs Service website.
Fly to a designated Place of First Arrival
International flights must arrive at a designated Place of First Arrival (POFA) suitable to accept the type of cargo or number of passengers you're carrying. Only Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch airports can receive commercial cargo, including pets.
If you plan to land at an airport not listed as a Place of First Arrival, you need prior approval. Approval will be granted only under exceptional circumstances. For more information about getting approval refer to:
- Arriving at non-approved POFA air and seaports
- Learn more about Places of First Arrival
- Read about airports as Places of First Arrival
Ensure your aircraft is insect and disease-free
MPI and the Ministry of Health require that aircraft flying to New Zealand are treated for insects and other invertebrates, which may be pests or carriers of diseases. Australia and New Zealand have a joint procedure for the disinsection (spraying insecticide for insect and disease control) of aircraft arriving from overseas.
There are 4 ways to disinsect your aircraft:
- Residual – internal surfaces are regularly sprayed with a residual insecticide (at least every 8 weeks)
- Pre-embarkation – spraying the cabin before passengers board the aircraft (separate hold treatment necessary)
- Pre-flight and top of descent – two-part process spraying lockers, toilets, and galleys before the flight and spraying the rest of the cabin as the aircraft starts its descent (separate hold treatment necessary)
- On-arrival – cabin and hold sprayed by an MPI biosecurity inspector after the aircraft has landed and before doors open.
- On-arrival spraying will take place if no other method has been performed or if it has been performed incorrectly. The person in charge of the aircraft is responsible for notifying MPI through the Place of First Arrival, so that inspectors are able to meet the aircraft.
For more information:
Check on the removal of goods and waste
All goods (including baggage) or waste must be removed at an approved place of first arrival, unless otherwise approved by an inspector. Waste should be given to airport operators for disposal. They are responsible for destroying uneaten food and other organic waste from arriving aircraft.
Check the goods in your aircraft do not pose a risk
If you bring goods with a biosecurity risk, including food items, to New Zealand, you must declare them. You may need to book a transitional facility where these goods can be inspected and managed before they are released to you.
If your goods are transported in an air container or wood packaging, these may also have a biosecurity risk and need to be inspected or treated. Follow the steps to import:
Ensure passengers and crew comply with entry requirements
Any passengers or crew need to go through the usual immigration and customs procedures. Items they are carrying with a biosecurity risk need to be declared and will be inspected by a biosecurity inspector.
You're ready to fly your aircraft to New Zealand when you:
- have emailed the details for your flight to ITOCOPS@customs.govt.nz
- fly to a designated Place of First Arrival that is able to process your aircraft, goods, and passengers
- have disinsected your aircraft.
Who to contact
If you spot a live organism in the plane while flying to New Zealand, notify:
- the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
- the airport in the case of an emergency
- MPI via the CAA or airport operator.
If you need to contact MPI about bringing your aircraft to New Zealand, email email@example.com.
You can also call the MPI clearance team in Auckland on (09) 909 8614.