These guidelines are supplementary to the current Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 3) 2021 and should be read in conjunction with the Order.

This guideline applies to flight crew who are residents of an Australian state or territory other than NSW and plan to travel onwards to their home jurisdiction after having been in a country other than Australia or New Zealand, or in a New Zealand hotspot, within the 14 days immediately before arrival in NSW.

Last updated: 06 October 2021

This guideline provides advice for flight crew members and airlines on COVID safety procedures for domestic travel to other Australian states and territories. Airlines are required to ensure that flight crew members comply with these guidelines.

Requirements prior to travel

Flight crew who ordinarily live in another Australian state or territory can travel onward to their home jurisdiction only if they:

  • have been tested for COVID-19 on arrival in NSW and prior to leaving the airport, and
  • provide an Interstate Flight Crew Declaration Form on arrival in NSW at the airport, stating that they:
    • have not been in contact with a COVID-19 case in the past 14 days, and
    • do not have, and have not had in the previous 72 hours, COVID-19 symptoms, and provide their name, date of birth, address of their residence, phone number and email address to NSW Health as part of their arrival declaration, and
    • travel by suitable transport

To facilitate this process, airlines must:

  • arrange suitable transportation for flight crew members
  • ensure the flight crew member is aware of their quarantine requirements on arrival in the next jurisdiction

Suitable transport

Transport to states and territories

Airlines must arrange suitable transport for flight crew travelling onward to another state or territory:

  • Interstate crew members travelling to their home jurisdiction that is not the ACT must travel by air. 
  • They must fly in an aircraft that is not carrying passengers apart from interstate flight crew.

Transport to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Interstate flight crew members who are travelling home to the ACT may also travel in a private vehicle.
A COVID-19 Safe Travel Plan is not required, as travel time is less than 3 hours. Flight crew driving to the ACT must comply with the following requirements:

  • they must travel directly to their residence by the most direct route
  • the vehicle must not have any other passengers
  • the vehicle must be filled with fuel and necessary refreshments required for the journey
  • they must not stop in busy areas, or rural and remote towns
  • rest breaks or emergency stops should be taken within the car, or in an outdoor location where physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres can be maintained at all times
  • they must practice good hand hygiene, including washing hands before and after touching surfaces, and have alcohol-based hand sanitiser available during the trip
  • they must handle own belongings and luggage

Interstate flight crew members should not leave their vehicle unless it is urgent or unavoidable. If the interstate flight crew member leaves the vehicle, they must:

  • wear a disposable surgical mask that covers their nose and mouth if they need to leave the vehicle and practice good hygiene including using alcohol-based hand sanitiser to wash hands before and after touching surfaces
  • wipe down any surfaces such as petrol bowsers, toilet doors and locks with disinfectant wipes before and after use
  • if required to stop to purchase fuel, use contactless payment methods where available (e.g. using contactless-enabled credit or debit card instead of cash)
  • maintain a record or log of all locations attended, including:
    • Date, time and duration of time spent at each location
    • Description of travel, including starting point, destination, and any rest stops 
  • Provide the records within 4 hours, if requested by NSW Health

Transport between airport terminals

Travel between the international and domestic airport terminals can be undertaken by:

  • an aircraft with no passengers apart from other flight crew OR
  • a private car (including a rental vehicle) that the crew member drives , with no passengers other than interstate flight crew who arrived on the same flight OR
  • A designated transport provider (registered with NSW Police Force)

Comply with the following precautions during transportation:

  • use only a direct route with no stops
  • the driver and all passengers must wear a disposable surgical mask that covers the nose and mouth
  • all passengers in the vehicle must comply with the following physical distancing guidance: 
    • For cars
      • there should be no more than two passengers
      • if there is one passenger, they must sit diagonally behind the driver
      • If there are two passengers, they must sit in the back seat 
    • For buses and larger vehicles:
      • there should be a minimum of two empty rows between the driver and interstate flight crew
      • there should be a vacant seat between each interstate flight crew
      • the vehicle may transport a maximum of 50% of its normal seated capacity
    • All interstate flight crew in the vehicle must have arrived on the same flight into Australia. Transport providers must not transport a mixture of crew from different flights.
  • promote natural ventilation including opening car windows where possible, or, if using air conditioning, maximise the intake of outside air and reduce recirculation of air
  • the vehicle should be used solely for the purpose of transport between airport terminals and quarantine locations (i.e. not used by the general public)
  • the vehicle must be cleaned thoroughly between uses, including cleaning all hard surfaces prior to onboarding new passengers
  • passenger attendance records must be kept and, on request, made available to NSW Health for the purposes of contact tracing.
  • Flight crew must not travel by taxi or rideshare (including Uber) or public transport for any purpose.

Requirements during travel

Travel by air

In addition to following the criteria for suitable transport outlined above:

  • Airlines should minimise time between international and domestic connecting flights to be under 8 hours, as much as possible.
  • If the time between international and domestic connecting flights is greater than 8 hours, for example if the flight is cancelled or delayed, flight crew will be directed to hotel quarantine.
  • Airlines must arrange suitable transportation (as defined above) for flight crew between international and domestic airport terminals.

When arriving at the airport and boarding the flight for onward interstate travel:

  • Flight crew must go directly to their flight.
  • Flight crew must maintain physical distance of 1.5metres from other people, wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth, and handle their own luggage while clearing customs and immigration.

While on the flight:

  • Airlines must ensure crew who are not on active duty remain seated.
  • Flight crew must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth, and maintain physical distancing (minimum 1.5 metres from others) during the flight.

Upon disembarking the flight in the home jurisdiction, flight crew must abide by that jurisdiction's quarantine and other public health requirements.

Cleaning requirements

Airlines must ensure air and ground vehicles used for domestic transport of international flight crew are cleaned thoroughly after use. This includes:

  • cleaning all hard surfaces prior to onboarding new passengers, and
  • using disinfectant solutions maintained at an appropriate strength, in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.

Further advice on appropriate cleaning and disinfection is provided by the Clinical Excellence Commission.

Record keeping

Airlines must keep a record of flight details should the flight crew test positive and close contact tracing be required. This includes the name and contact details of each crew member.

Current as at: Wednesday 6 October 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW