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

Step1

What you need to know

An overview of arriving in New Zealand by aircraft.

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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:

To arrive in New Zealand by aircraft you must:

Find out more

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.

Download the:

Step2

What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

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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:

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:

Download the Schedule of Aircraft Disinsection Procedures for Flights into Australia and New Zealand from the Australian Department of Agriculture's website

Download a fact sheet for pilots of small jets or private passenger aircraft [PDF, 585 KB]

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.

Step3

How you know you're ready to fly your aircraft to New Zealand

Getting your documentation.

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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 info@mpi.govt.nz.


You can also call the MPI clearance team in Auckland on (09) 909 8614.

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