Travelling by air
Aviation safety and maintenance standards vary throughout the world.
This page can help you make informed decisions about which airline to travel with. Explore this page for information on:
Aviation safety standards
Many factors can affect the safety of airports, aircraft and airlines. These include:
- weather, especially extreme hot, cold, wet conditions
- terrain, especially in mountainous areas
- aviation infrastructure, especially in developing countries
- how other countries regulate their aviation industries
Some countries have lower aviation safety and security standards than Australia. This can be a particular risk for domestic flights overseas.
Before you go, research the safety standards for any airlines and aircraft you plan to take.
We can’t advise on the safety of individual airlines or flight paths. Learn more about aviation safety (UN International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO).
Authorities on aviation safety
The following organisations provide more information on aviation safety:
- The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- The International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- The Aviation Safety Network
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulates air travel in Australia. This includes foreign aircraft that fly into Australian airspace, even if they don't land in Australia. CASA also oversees Australian-registered aircraft overseas.
CASA doesn't regulate foreign aircraft or airports outside Australia.
Learn more about global aviation safety (ICAO)
DFAT policy on airlines
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has workplace health and safety obligations to its employees.
Sometimes DFAT tells its staff working overseas not to use a particular airline if it has concerns about the safety of the airline. If that happens, we will state it in the travel advice for the relevant destination or on this page when it's a global impact.
This is to ensure there are no double standards between the information we give to our staff and the Australian public.
On 22 August 2020, an AN-26 plane crashed in South Sudan. DFAT staff and dependants have been directed not to fly on Antonov AN-26 aircraft when travelling for official purposes. The direction will remain in place pending the results of crash investigations.
Flight paths over conflict zones
International airlines may fly over hostile regions. Flights over these areas are often restricted to particular routes or altitudes.
Individual airlines select their flight paths. They conduct risk assessments to determine these.
If you're concerned about the route your plane will take, ask your airline or travel agent. They can provide you with definitive advice on your flight route.
Learn more about flying over conflict zones (ICAO).
Bad or severe weather
Before you travel, check the forecast for your departure, and the airport in you destination.
Airlines may cancel flights when there's a severe weather incident. This includes flights into the area, and flights out. This reduces safety risks to passengers.
Check your travel insurance policy. You may be covered for weather related cancellations.
Airport security procedures
Airlines and airports around the world have increased security and restricted what you can take in your hand luggage. Security regulations overseas may be different to regulations in Australia.
Some countries or airlines may install additional passenger screening measures or restrictions at short notice. These could cause delays at the airport.
- Check with your airline or the country you're visiting before you travel.
- Arrive at the airport with plenty of time for the screening and security checks.
- Follow the directions of airport security staff and flight crews at all times.
- Read the travel advice for your planned destinations.
Read more about Australian airport security procedures, including passenger screening (Department of Home Affairs).
Learn more about global airport security measures (ICAO).
Flying in and out of Australia
TravelSECURE (Department of Home Affairs) can help you prepare for your trip and find out about security measures at Australian airports and on international flights to and from Australia.
It provides information about:
- passenger and baggage screening
- prohibited items
- travelling with children, laptops, medication and sports equipment
Know what you can and cannot take in your carry-on or checked baggage (Department of Home Affairs).
- Read the travel advisories for all your planned destinations, including stopovers.
- Airlines may cancel flights when there's a severe weather incident.
- You may be covered for weather related cancellations. Check your travel insurance policy.
An overseas travel ban is in place for all Australians, with few exceptions. You will not be able to depart Australia to travel overseas, including on international cruises.
This page will help you understand the risks and take appropriate precautions before you head out on the water.