All aircraft entering Australia must be treated with disinsection to prevent biosecurity risks as approved by the Director of Human Biosecurity. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) administers disinsection requirements on behalf of the Australian Department of Health.
The department and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) New Zealand work in partnership to develop and regulate joint aircraft disinsection requirements.
Disinsection requirements are based on World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.
The WHO Aircraft Disinsection Method and Procedures will be incorporated into the Schedule of Aircraft Disinsection Procedures for Flights into Australia and New Zealand and Spray rates listing for flights into Australia and New Zealand. These changes support reducing the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia and New Zealand through aircraft arrivals.
These changes mean that:
- The 2-step pre-flight & top of descent (TOD) disinsection method will no longer be accepted.
- A new pre-departure disinsection (PDD) method is available, supported by certification.
- New disinsection treatment certificates for all four types of disinsection methods outlined in the appendix section of the Schedule of Aircraft Disinsection Procedures for Flights into Australia and New Zealand.
The new PDD method commenced on 2 August 2021. Procedures for PDD can be found in the Schedule of Aircraft Disinsection Procedures for Flights into Australia and New Zealand.
Definition of disinsection
WHO defines ‘disinsection’ as: the procedure whereby health measures are taken to control or kill the insect vectors of human diseases present in baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods, and postal parcels.
WHO recommends that aircraft disinsection will minimise the risks of vectors and diseases spread by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes act as transmitters or vectors of pathogens or parasites that are responsible for spreading human pathogenic organisms, such as dengue fever, yellow fever, Ross River fever and malaria.
World Health Organization requirements for aircraft disinsection
The International Health Regulations 2005 (IHRs) took effect on 15 June 2007. The IHRs establish global benchmark standards to prevent, protect against, control, and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade. The IHRs continue to maintain that the disinsection of aircraft is a necessary measure to help prevent the spread of vector borne diseases.
Effective 2 August 2021, the WHO Aircraft Disinsection Method and Procedures form the basis of the Schedule of aircraft disinsection procedures for flights into Australia and New Zealand; and Spray rates listing for flights into Australia and New Zealand. This change supports reducing the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia and New Zealand through aircraft arrivals.
- Report of the Informal Consultation on Aircraft Disinsection, WHO/HQ, Geneva, 6-10 November 1995
- Why Aircraft Disinsection?, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2000
- WHO aircraft disinsection methods and procedures, World Health Organization, 25 February 2021.
Types of aircraft disinsection
As outlined in the Aircraft Disinsection Procedures for Flights into Australia and New Zealand there are four types of disinsection methods that can be used:
- Residual – is carried out while no passengers are onboard. The entire aircraft is sprayed with a residual insecticide and lasts eight weeks
- Pre-embarkation – is carried out while no passengers are on board. Crew may be on board as this method is completed up to 40 minutes prior to passengers boarding the aircraft. The treatment lasts for the duration of the single flight
- Pre-departure – is carried out after passenger embarkation but before the overhead lockers are closed and the aircraft is pushed back for departure. The treatment is effective for the duration of a single flight.
- On-arrival – is an in-flight spray of a non- residual insecticide, carried out once the aircraft lands in Australia or New Zealand. The treatment lasts for that one arrival.
Disinsection Approved Arrangements (AA)
Section 405 of the Biosecurity Act 2015 provides for the adoption of arrangements relevant to certain biosecurity activities. These arrangements are legally binding between the department and an industry party (the airline) and require the airline to perform specific disinsection related tasks in an agreed manner.
The department and MPI work in partnership and regulate each other’s arrangements and any other undertakings as required.
Approval to perform either residual and or pre–embarkation disinsection is dependent on airlines entering into a class 43.1 disinsection treatment Approved Arrangement (AA) with the department. These AA’s outline the application of a particular set of requirements; and the supervision, monitoring and testing of the airline’s compliance with those requirements.
To enter into an AA with the department your airline must review the:
- Aircraft Disinsection Procedures for Flights into Australia and New Zealand
- AA general policies
- Class 43.1 disinsection treatment requirements
Prior to applying for an AA Class 43.1 for aircraft disinsection treatment, airlines should contact the department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to commence discussion on airline needs and to understand the requirements and obligations when entering into an AA.
When applying for an AA, the following need to be completed:
Further information can be found in applying for an approved arrangement.
The on arrival disinsection method will take place if an airline has not satisfactorily performed disinsection prior to their arrival.
This will incur a fee for service charge to the airline operator.
Benefits of an Approved Agreement?
Entering into an Approved Arrangement (AA) with the department is voluntary. Where a party chooses not to enter into one, the department will implement monitoring regimes aimed at maintaining biosecurity integrity relative to aircraft disinsection. A Fee for Service charge will apply.
AA’s can deliver tangible benefits to your airline. Some of these benefits include:
- streamlined processes, for example airlines can finalise disembarking activities without needing to wait for a department officer to attend the aircraft.
- improved airline staff and contracted third party applicator knowledge, as a result of training provided by the airline in disinsection related activities, their role and responsibilities
- airline engagement with the department will promote awareness of human health and disinsection related activities
- airlines can feel confident they are complying with Australian legislation requirements through their monitoring of compliance by staff and third party applicators.
Aircraft Disinsection Information (ADI) Application
The Aircraft Disinsection Information (ADI) application is designed to provide up-to-date information regarding the status of residual and pre-embarkation disinsection of international aircraft arriving into Australia and New Zealand. Not updating ADI will result a biosecurity officer attending the flight on-arrival and a Fee for Service charge will apply.
Airlines will be given access to ADI on successful completion of a residual or pre-embarkation AA with either the department or MPI.
Aircraft disinsection questions and answers
The following questions and answers are for aircraft arrivals into Australia. For more information, or information regarding arrivals into New Zealand, see the Schedule of Aircraft Disinsection Procedures for Flights into Australia and New Zealand.
What brand of disinsection sprays can I use?
Callington Haven is currently the only brand that has been approved for use in Australia by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
For treatment methods conducted in Australia (On-Arrival method), airlines must use Callington Haven. For all other treatment methods conducted overseas, airlines can use any brand they prefer provided the cans use the correct chemical, amount, and discharge rate (1 gram per second).
For a list of active ingredients for each method, refer to the World Health Organization (WHO) aircraft disinsection methods and procedures.
How much treatment is required for each aircraft?
The amount of treatment and number of cans varies depending on the aircraft type. The correct amount of spray can be found in the Spray rates listing for flights into Australia and New Zealand. If the aircraft is not listed, airlines can use the Spray rates calculator tool if dimensions are known. Alternatively, airlines can contact the department to check the amount of treatment required by emailing email@example.com.
Which applicator should I use for the Residual method?
It is the responsibility of the airline to select which applicator they choose to employ for the Residual method. The department cannot make recommendations on which residual applicator airlines should use. The applicator must sign a contract of service with the airline, and this must be provided to the department at the time of entering into an Approved Arrangement.
Do I need to supply the cans for the On-Arrival method?
The airline can either supply the cans, or our biosecurity officers at the port of arrival can provide the cans for the On-Arrival method. This is chargeable for both the service and the product. If you require biosecurity officers to provide cans, it is preferable to advise the local port in advance.
Who can use a Contract of Service?
Any airline or aircraft operator on an approved arrangement can enter into a Contract of Service with a third party treatment provider for the aircraft cabin and/or hold (cargo areas). These treatments performed by a third party must be in accordance with the airline’s disinsection procedures under their Approved Arrangement (AA) 43.1 Disinsection treatments.
Can aircraft crew perform Residual method?
Aircraft crew can perform the Residual method if adequately trained. Airlines must provide procedures and training material to the department for prior approval.
Do airlines need to complete a Contract of Service for Pre-Embarkation method?
A contract of services must be provided to the department if the airline or aircraft operator is intending to use a third party to perform their disinsection treatments on its behalf.
More information can be found in Approved Arrangement (AA) 43.1 – Disinsection treatments requirements .
Where can I find the disinsection certificates?
Airlines are required to complete a certificate for all disinsection methods, except for the On-Arrival method. The certificates can be found in the appendices of the Aircraft disinsection procedures for flights into Australia and New Zealand.
What do biosecurity officers check for to verify disinsection?
This depends on which disinsection method the airline is using.
If the airline is utilising the “Pre-departure disinsection” method, biosecurity officers will meet the aircraft on arrival to verify the completed certificate and empty cans.
If the airline is on an Approved Arrangement, and utilising the Residual method or the Pre-embarkation method, biosecurity officers will check the Aircraft Disinsection Information (ADI) application to see when the aircraft was treated.
Biosecurity will also conduct random verification activities such as attending to the aircraft to check cans and certificates.
For the On-Arrival method, biosecurity officers supervise the spraying on arrival.
What happens if disinsection is not able to be verified at the arrival port or if treatment is not conducted?
If certificates and/or cans are incorrect or unable to be located, then the aircraft will be re-sprayed. The biosecurity officers will supervise this respray on arrival. This is a chargeable service and can delay the disembarkation of passengers and cargo.
What is a live fly bioassay?
The department works with the MPI to regulate joint aircraft disinsection requirements. MPI provides efficacy testing on aircraft flying into New Zealand by conducting live fly bioassays. This is to verify that the disinsection treatment was conducted to a satisfactory level.
What happens if my aircraft fails a bioassay?
If your aircraft fails a bioassay, the department or MPI will be in contact with your airline for the next steps. The next steps will depend on the exact results of the bioassay.
What are the reporting responsibilities of the aircraft operator?
It is the responsibility of the aircraft operator to lodge a pre-arrival report (PAR) as required under Section 37 of the Biosecurity Regulations 2016.
The PAR must be lodged as close to the top of descent as operationally practicable, 30 minutes before the aircraft is estimated to arrive into Australia, or at the time specified by a biosecurity officer.
More information on PAR can be found in the Guidelines for airline and aircraft operators arriving in Australian territory.
Do I need an ABN or ACN to enter into a disinsection Approved Arrangement?
Yes, it is a requirement to have and provide us with your airline’s ABN or ACN to enter an Approved Arrangement. For more information about applying for an ABN, visit the Australian Business Register website.