International Airports

International airports are airports designated by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport as international airports in accordance with section 9 of the Air Navigation Act 1920. View the list of current designated international airports in Australia.

International Airport Categories

The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, in consultation with the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and Airservices Australia, categorises each designated international airport according to the border services and facilities available.

The categories of airports are:

  • Major International
    airports of entry and departure where all formalities incident to Customs, Immigration, Biosecurity and similar services are made available, and which are open to scheduled and non-scheduled flights;
  • Restricted Use International
    airports of entry and departure at which the formalities incident to Customs, Immigration, Biosecurity and similar services are made available on a restricted basis, to flights with prior approval only;
  • Alternate International
    airports specified in the flight plan to which a flight may proceed when it becomes inadvisable to land at the airport of intended landing;
  • International Non-Scheduled Flight
    airports at which approval may be granted, provided the prescribed prior notice is given, for international non-scheduled flights only; no other form of international operation is permitted;
  • External Territory International
    airports of entry and departure for international air traffic located upon an Australian External Territory, where all formalities incident to Customs, Immigration, Biosecurity and similar services are made available.

Full details, including any special conditions that may apply to individual airports, are published in the Australian Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP).

Guidance for new and redeveloping international airport operators

International transport is vital to Australia’s trade and tourism, along with the need to balance the efficient movement of people and goods across Australia’s border.

The Australian Government has established a clear, transparent and consistent process to help ensure that border services (biosecurity, immigration and customs control) are available at ports when they are required.

Airport operators seeking to introduce international services at an airport where no border services are provided, or where there is a change to an existing business model that impacts on border services capabilities, need to apply to the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.

Airport operators are advised they are responsible for costs associated with relevant infrastructure and facilities required to support international services. This includes any costs associated with establishing a border services capability at the airport incurred by the Australian Government.

Proposals will be assessed to determine whether they are in the national interest. The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities coordinates advice to the Australian Government on proposals in consultation with the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and other relevant agencies.

Airport operators are encouraged to contact the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities early in the development of a proposal at: internationalaviation@infrastructure.gov.au.

Further detail on applying for the provision of border services is available in the document Applying for the provision of border services at new and redeveloping international ports PDF: 610 KB ReadSpeaker.

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Last Updated: 4 June, 2018