INTERNATIONAL OPS

Flying to Australia and New Zealand

Both "Down Under" locations welcome bizav visits but costs for various services are high. Australia is the stricter of the 2.


ADS-B has become a necessity

Federal police at CBR (Canberra, Australia) keep an eye on things airside. Security is good at all airports of entry in Australia.

While ADS-B mandates are not currently in effect for New Zealand, Australia was an early ADS-B adopter back in 2007, and operating requirements have recently tightened. LeDuc points out that as of Feb 2, 2017 all aircraft operating IFR must be equipped with 1090 MHz extended squitter ADS-B or be subject to a fine.

Today, all aircraft within Australian airspace at or above FL290 must carry approved ADS-B equipment. Exemptions are only granted in extenuating circumstances. The operator must establish that an acceptable level of safety will be provided, pay a regulatory fee and stay below FL290, which may reduce fuel efficiency.

Australia mandated, back in Feb 6, 2014, that all newly registered aircraft operating IFR in controlled airspace must be fitted with ADS-B capable Mode S transponders. This mandate also applies to all existing aircraft if the transponder has been replaced.

Agriculture, quarantine, pet and gun considerations

Both countries are strict in terms of disinfection of aircraft cabins prior to international arrival. Upon landing, most onboard food items including meats, dairy, eggs, fruits, honey, etc, will be disposed of. Note that only approved disinfection sprays may be used and you'll need to fill out a form and provide the spray can's serial number to quarantine authorities upon arrival in Australia and/or New Zealand. If this 2-step spray procedure has not been accomplished prior to departure and at top of descent, you'll have the option of having disinfection done after landing.

Temporary importation of pets into either country involves stringent requirements and procedures. In Australia, pets with full health certificates may still be put into mandatory quarantine. "It's quite a detailed procedure to bring a pet into Australia, even if you have all required health documentation," confirms O'Reilly. "Mandatory quarantine of 10 days may be imposed on the pet but it can be as long as 6 months depending on the country you're coming from. If you're arriving for a 4-day stay, for example, you'll generally not be allowed to bring a pet with you as it may go into quarantine for 10 or more days."

While it's normally possible to bring firearms into Australia and New Zealand, full details must be forwarded in advance to local police authorities so a permit can be issued after inspection of weapons upon landing. New Zealand's South Island, by the way, has open hunting season on deer 12 months of the year.

ATC privatization in New Zealand

Detector dogs at AKL do double duty in ensuring contraband does not make its way into New Zealand. Note that if you're arriving with a pet onboard, it'll be inspected and may be subject to quarantine.

Leach points out that, while airport and ATC privatization does have its benefits, there are significant cost increases to consider, as is currently the case in New Zealand. "Flying a Gulfstream IV from AKL to ZQN, a 1 hr 25 min flight, will cost NZ $1265 plus 15% GST (about US $1090). This includes enroute fees of NZ $411, approach fee into ZQN of NZ $332 and a tower charge to clear you for landing of NZ $521.

AKL has recently proposed significantly raising parking charges, from NZ $425 + GST per night to NZ $2500 + GST per night for a GLF550/650 or GLEX/Global 6000. We're currently fighting this as we find it to be unreasonable, discriminatory and an abuse of monopoly position in the market place."

Curfews and noise restrictions

Be aware of airport and noise curfews in effect in Australia and New Zealand. Australian airports have particularly strict curfews in place. SYD is generally closed to GA ops from 2300 to 0600 unless your aircraft has an operating weight under 34 tons and your aircraft model is on the approved list. International support providers remark that an aircraft's takeoff weight must have been under 34 tons at the last point of departure if landing in Australia during night curfew hours.

Note that no GA night ops are permitted into ZQN unless prior approval can be obtained from New Zealand CAA. "During winter months, all GA flights must be on the ground 30 minutes prior to evening civil twilight (ECT)," says Jeppesen ITP Account Specialist Jean-Michael Sicaud. "Departing aircraft need to be at or below MSA at least 15 minutes prior to ECT. Additionally, ZQN airport authority stops all Saturday GA arrivals from 1200 to 1630 due to ramp congestion."

Some airports in New Zealand also have curfews and/or restrictions. Leach adds, "ZQN is closed after twilight, WLG prohibits all ops from 0000 to 0600, and AKL closes the runway each Monday from 0130 to 0430 for cleaning and maintenance."

Security and cultural considerations

On-airport security is of high standard at all airports of entry in both countries. Private guards can be arranged, via your ground handler, to watch your aircraft airside. However, this is not a recommended practice because airside access controls, patrols and surveillance are good at major airports. Australia and New Zealand are low threat countries and off airport security is less of an issue than in many other parts of the developed world.

For cultural considerations, the best practice is to always be aware of your surroundings and what country you are in. If you're in Australia, it's best not to go on about how beautiful New Zealand is. Likewise, when visiting New Zealand perhaps it is best to avoid talking about how much you like the Australians.

Conclusion

While both Australia and New Zealand are relatively easy GA operating environments, there are issues that trip up operators from time to time.
"In general, this is a straight-forward operating environment – providing the operator has a strong pedigree and sound knowledge of the region," says Crossley. "Advance planning, as in most scenarios, always helps make a trip run more smoothly."

It can, however, be a long and onerous process obtaining TSA for charter ops to Australia, as this requires filling out many forms and disclosures of confidential company details, much lead time, and paying various costs. Visa issues must always be carefully considered and complied with, and airport curfews will limit operating flexibility from time to time. Should you have an undisclosed pet onboard, this could very well sink your mission and cause no end of grief.

"We've experienced increased GA traffic to this region each year," concludes Leach. "FBO and ground handling services here are of very high standards, it's a relatively flexible operating environment, and the natives are friendly."

Editor-at-Large Grant McLaren has written for Pro Pilot for over 20 years and specializes in corporate flight department coverage.



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