Air travel

There are a range of factors that can affect the safety of aircraft and airlines. These include the weather, terrain, aviation infrastructure and the ways in which a country regulates its aviation industry. Aviation safety and security standards in some countries may not be equal to standards in Australia or meet those set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Airline Safety

Airline and air charter safety and maintenance standards vary throughout the world. Maintenance procedures and safety standards on aircraft used on internal flights are not always properly observed. Passengers should check whether they are covered by airline insurance.

If you have concerns about aviation safety standards, you may wish to research airlines, aircraft and government safety supervision. However, specific information on airlines and aviation safety standards in other countries is limited. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) provide information on aviation safety. The European Union (EU) has published a list of airlines that are subject to operating bans or restrictions within the EU.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) oversees the safety-related aspects of airlines and aircraft which fly into and within Australia. CASA also oversees Australian-registered aircraft overseas and foreign aircraft that fly into Australian airspace, but may not necessarily land in Australia. CASA does not regulate foreign aircraft or airports outside Australia.

Code sharing

You could travel on a different airline than you expected due to the common practice of code sharing. This happens when an airline places its ‘code’ or flight number on another airline’s flight and both airlines market the flight as their own. If you are concerned that you may fly with a different airline than you expected, you should check arrangements with your intended airline before booking.

Australian officials

When staff at Australia’s overseas missions are advised not to use particular airlines due to safety concerns, this will be clearly stated in the travel advice for that destination.

Weather

Inclement weather can affect air travel in any season, even on the clearest of days. Whether it's high winds, rain, sleet or snow, or volcanic ash, each year brings a slew of delays that could have a negative impact on your air travel.  Before you leave for travel of any kind, it is always a good idea to check the forecasts for your departure and destination city. For aviation weather information and forecasts visit the Australian Bureau of Meteorology or you may also consult our Severe Weather publication.

Aviation Safety and Airport Security Procedures

Terrorism

Global aviation remains a potential terrorist target.  Due to attacks and foiled plots targeting passenger and cargo transportation in the last decade, aviation security authorities around the world have enhanced security procedures at airports and limited what passengers can carry in their hand luggage.  Individual countries or airlines may put in place additional passenger screening measures and restrictions at short notice, which could cause delays at airports. You should follow the directions of airport security staff and flight crews at all times. 

Airport security requirements

Security regulations in Australia may be slightly different to the regulations in the countries that you are visiting. Therefore, we recommend you check with your airline or the country you are visiting before you travel.  You should arrive at the airport with plenty of time to undergo necessary screening and security checks. You should abide by all instructions, including signs and announcements.  You should also consult the travel advice for destinations to which you intend to travel.

Flying in and out of Australia

TravelSECURE is a traveller-friendly website developed by the Australian Government to help you prepare for your trip and familiarise yourself with security measures in place at Australian airports and in international flights to and from Australia. Its purpose is to help travellers prepare for their journey so they can clear the security checks at the airport quickly and easily.

The site provides information about prohibited items, passenger and baggage screening as well as liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) restrictions, goods purchased at duty-free shops before arrival in Australia.  Travellers will also find recommendations about travelling with children, laptops, medicines and sports equipment.

Key information from TravelSECURE have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish to ensure greater accessibility.

Other information sources

The web links below provide additional information and advice on hand-luggage restrictions, security check procedures, duty free purchases and packing guidelines for the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union and Canada: