International cargo pets

Moving pets around the world.

Our pets service

If you have a pet travelling from New Zealand, you have come to the right place for how to do that. If your pet is travelling from other countries, you will need to check how to best prepare for their travel with the region concerned.

Pets cannot commonly travel as checked in baggage on international Air New Zealand flights. Instead we maximise your pets' comfort by offering some of the same comforts our passengers enjoy by providing fully pressurised and temperature controlled conditions in our 'cargo' hold.

Approved pet transporters

Air New Zealand does not accept animals directly from the public because of the complexity involved in completing the pre-flight documentation, the Ministry for Primary Industries compliance and veterinary checks. Approved pet transporters or an IATA agent will have to assist you with moving your pet.

Our pet transporters must go through a formal registration and approval process before we entrust them to care for your pet's travel arrangements to our standards. We recognise that we are dealing after all with family members - no matter which exterior they are bundled into!

Can my pet travel?

Not all pets are equal. We may not be able to fly your pet if it is a brachycephalic breed, is too young, is an embargoed breed at the destination, flight days of week or if it is not 'domestic' as defined by the IATA regulations.

Air New Zealand cargo does not accept racing greyhounds for travel on services to or from Europe and Asia.

If a greyhound is a domesticated family pet (not for racing or breeding purposes), a request can be made to the Cargo Management team for consideration through your local Air New Zealand office. Evidence must be supplied confirming the animal has been a domesticated family pet for 12 months minimum. The request will be assessed and approvals given once the Cargo Management team are satisfied the animal is not for commercial gain.

Your pet may be able to travel on the same flight as you depending on the destination airport and day of week. IATA offer some tips about pets travelling by air transport.

How much is it going to cost to send my pet?

The cost to send your pet will dependent on the destination, size/weight, cage requirements, and administration time to prepare required travel documents such as vet certificates. Check out how much it will cost to send your pet directly with your chosen pet transporter or IATA agent.

Book pet travel

Contact one of our approved pet transporters or IATA agent now to get your pet travel underway. Although these specialists will provide you with the most current requirements and resources to prepare your pet for travel, you can get a head start by completing the acknowledgement and indemnity form in advance.

Collecting your pet

You can collect your pet from our cargo location at the destination point of your pets journey. Find your cargo collection point.

Frequently asked questions

The carriage of live animals by air is regulated by various Government authorities as well as by Air New Zealand and IATA. Air New Zealand sets as a minimum standard the provisions of IATA Live Animal Regulations (LAR). This is a yearly publication covering acceptance, packaging, labelling, stowage and handling of animals for carriage by air.

  • The animal must be presented to the airline for acceptance processes prior to dispatch to the flight. This is dependent on local conditions and distance from/to the aircraft. Other considerations are quarantine inspections by government bodies. Most Air New Zealand handled flights require pets to be presented to Air New Zealand Cargo at least 3 hours pre-flight, some airlines with added security formalities require pets at least 4 hours pre-flight.

  • Shipments must be handled with extreme care to ensure the safety and well-being of both animals and handling staff. Adequate ventilation is essential, and all cages must be IATA compliant, with an New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) endorsed stamp where applicable. The time animals are kept awaiting uplift or delivery should be kept to a minimum.

Note: MPI is only applicable in New Zealand

  • We recommend putting a soft toy or blanket with a familiar scent if they don't take up too much room, this will help your pet settle down whilst in transport. Air New Zealand prohibits any sharp or metal items, pet food and bean bags. Please avoid anything small which may be choked on and be aware that Customs may remove and destroy them upon arrival to satisfy their quarantine requirements.

  • All pets must have adequate absorbent material in the cage in case of any water spillage or toilet accidents.

  • There is no access to the hold. There is no lighting left on, the hold is pressurized the same as the cabin and there are temperature and ventilation controls.

  • It is most important that the water bowls of animals are replenished during transit stops with clean water. This is essential at stations with warmer climates.

  • If there is an issue before the flight the animal will not be accepted/flown. In New Zealand all pets travelling internationally must undergo export certification by the Ministry for Primary Industries which should alert owners and pet transporters to any health issues prior to flight check in. If a pet becomes unwell during the flight, action will take place on arrival.

  • Air New Zealand only accepts pet shipments from New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) registered Animal Products exporters who are recognized pet transporters who must have the skills and knowledge to apply all the requirements of the IATA Live Animal Regulations (LAR).

  • Air New Zealand completes a 32 question check-sheet to ensure that IATA standards have been met. This entails bookings, documentation, container condition, food and water.

  • Travelling by air can have an unsettling effect on animals which may cause changes to behaviour.

  • There is a definite increased risk for brachycephalic (snub nosed animals) due to their physical breathing conditions. Please refer to our list of brachycephalic breeds that Air New Zealand does not accept for flights exceeding 5 hours duration.

  • The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) does not permit the use of sedation for pets travelling by air. As all pets must pass MPI Certification prior to export by air, pets cannot be under the influence of sedation for any domestic or international flights.

  • We do not recommend sedating pets for travel. Sedation can lead to dehydration and also disorientation if they wake up part way through the journey.  It can also be difficult for customs to assess the health of an animal after arrival if it has been sedated. There are many natural products which can be used to calm your pet before travel though you must speak to your normal NZ registered vet or your pet transporter about the side effects of these products prior to flight.