Requirements for flying aircraft to New Zealand
All aircraft entering New Zealand must arrive at an approved place of first arrival (PoFA). Find out the procedures you must follow if you're flying your aircraft from an overseas country to New Zealand.
Biosecurity and Customs requirements
All care has been taken to ensure information about these biosecurity arrangements is complete. International aircraft operators should be aware that, as well as complying with MPI's biosecurity requirements, they'll also have to meet requirements of other border agencies like the New Zealand Customs Service (Customs).
Flights must land at an approved place
All overseas flights, including commercial airlines, corporate, freight, courier, charter, private craft, and military flights, must land in New Zealand at an approved place of first arrival (PoFA) airport.
You must arrive at a PoFA that suits your needs. Your needs – and your choice of PoFA – will depend on the type of aircraft, the cargo being carried, and the number of passengers on board. It will depend whether you are bringing, for example, imported animals or pets, cargo such as bulk foods, or passengers and their luggage.
Approved airport PoFAs
A number of airports in the North and South Islands of New Zealand are approved as POFAs. They include air force military bases, international airports, and domestic airports. Some PoFA-approved airports are restricted for military personnel and operations only. Other airports may have passenger number limits. Only 3 airports are approved to accept commercial cargo, including pets – Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
Prior approval needed to arrive elsewhere
It is an offence under the Biosecurity Act 1993 to land at any place other than a PoFA (unless approved by MPI and Customs).
Contact the airport before arrival
If you are a flight operator, you must contact the airport where you intend to land before your flight arrives. It is the airport operator's responsibility to only accept flights the airport can handle. When planning your arrival, note the times of day MPI and Customs staff are available.
It is an offence if you fail to notify MPI and Customs of your intended arrival.
Only Auckland International Airport is staffed 24 hours. Other airports with scheduled flights from overseas are usually staffed to meet these flights, but not at other times.
Arrivals by private aircraft
Most visitors to New Zealand arrive on a commercial airline, but if you're arriving on a private aircraft there's other information you need to know.
Find out more:
- Personal travellers arriving in New Zealand
- Steps to bringing commercial aircraft to New Zealand
- Importing cargo and containers
- Transitional facilities
Processing is done at the airport
At the airport, passengers, cargo, and the aircraft itself are processed by MPI and other government border agencies (like Customs) for entry into New Zealand. The person in charge of the aircraft must have the correct and complete documentation. The person in charge must be the operator or captain.
If your aircraft is cleared for entry, it is usually then free to travel to other airports in the country.
When repairs or maintenance are needed
For uncleared craft, MPI requires any scheduled and unscheduled aircraft maintenance done at official maintenance workshops in Auckland or Christchurch airports. Any cleared craft can have repairs and maintenance done at any location in New Zealand.
Who to contact
If you have questions about places of first arrival, including fees and charges, email email@example.com