COVID-19: Aviation sector

Information and guidance for the aviation sector.

Last updated: 7 August 2020

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Requirements for International Airline Crew 

Precautions to Reduce Risk of COVID-19 Infection

New Zealand has had great success in the past few months in reducing the prevalence of COVID-19 in our country and progressing towards elimination of this disease. Our border remains our most critical line of defence in maintaining these gains.  Part of this defence is requiring all newly arrived travellers to undertake 14-days quarantine or isolation in managed facilities.

Because of the importance of maintaining international air routes, New Zealand-based international air crew are mostly exempt from requirements for isolation or quarantine, if they meet certain conditions – both in flight and during layovers.

Air crew must follow strict protocols to protect themselves against COVID-19. These factsheets have further information on those protocols and requirements.

Self-isolation requirements for air crew

Air crew living in New Zealand and returning from high-risk layovers should self-isolate, have a COVID-19 test on day two after their arrival in New Zealand and continue to self-isolate until the results of that test have been returned.

Requirements for international air crew - questions and answers for the public

Requirements for international air crew - questions and answers for aircrew

These requirements also apply to horse grooms.

Horse grooms are considered by the Ministry to be "airline crew" under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2020, and are exempt from managed quarantine / isolation unless they travel on a domestic carrier in an overseas country.

Horse grooms travel alongside airline crew, under the direction of the pilot, and are included on the crew list / manifest. They travel expressly to oversee the well-being of horses who are transported as air freight.

Requirements for any hotel accommodation being used by international air crew for overnight layovers

The requirements for any hotel accommodation being used by international air crew for overnight layovers are as follows.

  • That the hotel has the ability to check in numerous guests at once with a dedicated queue allowing for physically distancing of 2 metres.
  • That the hotel provides in-room meals including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • That the hotel can meet individual dietary requirements.
  • The hotel has an outdoor space where aircrew can exercise or smoke and remain physically distant from other aircrew and guests. To assist with the challenges of isolation, for hotel stays greater than 24 hours, aircrew can meet in a controlled area in the hotel, preferably with fresh air, in groups of up to eight people for 1 hour in each 24-hour period. During this meeting time all crew must follow the hand hygiene advice, wear a mask, and maintain a 2 metre distance unless they are already close contacts on the aircraft, in which case a 1m apart is fine.
  • That the hotel must have enough staff available to meet the extra requirements for cleaning, catering, and delivery of meals.
  • That the hotel can provide a service to purchase essential items (as aircrew are not allowed to go to supermarkets).
  • That the hotel can provide a laundry service for aircrew, as well as laundering of linen and towels.
  • That the hotel can provide sufficient connectivity such as wifi.
  • The hotel must be reasonably close to a pharmacy or good access for collecting medication on behalf of the aircrew.
  • That the hotel is within an hour of a medical facility.

Guidance on the provision of face masks on inbound international flights

The Ministry of Health requests that medical grade masks (ie not cloth masks) are made available to all passengers on inbound international flights.

Requirements for international aeromedical transfers involving New Zealand and overseas-based medical attendants

New Zealand-based medical attendants assisting with medical air transfers are exempt from undertaking 14-days quarantine or isolation on their return to New Zealand. As they are exempt, they must follow international medical transfer requirements to ensure the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is reduced and help keep our borders safe. 

See Medical transfer (road and air) for more information.  

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