Protocol Guidelines

Appendix 23b, Aircraft Diplomatic Clearance Application for entry and operation in Australian airspace

Diplomatic clearance is required for foreign state aircraft to enter and operate in Australian territory, including the airspace above Australian offshore islands. Applications for foreign state aircraft to conduct flying operations within Australian territory should be submitted at least five working days before the proposed date of entry into Australian airspace. At least two weeks notice is required if military services are requested (such as parking at a Royal Australian Air Force base). A separate application should be submitted for each aircraft, or formation of aircraft. Applications are submitted by completing the attached form and emailing to ForeignAircraft.Requests@defence.gov.au.

Aircraft operating under diplomatic clearance are required to comply with applicable aerodrome procedures and air traffic control directions. Diplomatic clearance does not exempt the requesting government's responsibility to meet other Australian government agency requirements such as customs, quarantine and immigration. It is the responsibility of the foreign government to ensure all necessary paperwork and/or clearances from Australian government agencies are arranged prior to arrival. The requesting government may also be contacted by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and/or the Department of Infrastructure and Transport if further authorisation is required. In certain circumstances, diplomatic clearance may only be issued subject to the aircraft, cargo and passengers undertaking additional checks and searches. Failure to comply with any conditions on a diplomatic clearance, or with other government agencies’ procedures, could result in penalties and affect issuance of future diplomatic clearances. 

Any questions relating to diplomatic clearances should be addressed to the Diplomatic Clearance Cell on +612 612 84819 or ForeignAircraft.Requests@defence.gov.au.

Foreign military aircraft participating in exercises within Australia

Foreign aircraft visiting Australia for a combined exercise are required to seek diplomatic clearance for their transit to and from their operating location. All exercise flights are covered under the exercise arrangements. However, any transits from their deployed location to another location outside the exercise schedule will require approval.  

Alternate routes and in-flight emergencies  

Approval will not be issued for alternate or diversion airfield requests inside Australia. Under international convention, aircraft diverting in response to in-flight emergency or poor weather do not require diplomatic approval and should select the nearest appropriate airfield. Notification of any emergency diversions should be sent to the Diplomatic Clearance Cell at the earliest opportunity thereafter landing. 

Application form guidance

Requesting Country – Please indicate the country applying for clearance 

Point of Contact – Please add the name, email address and phone number of the draftee or best contact to discuss any further information regarding the flight. 

Purpose – Please indicate the purpose of flight, i.e. VIP transport, cargo transport etc.  If the aircraft is supporting or participating in an exercise or operation please indicate the name of the exercise or operation. 

Operator* – Please indicate the operator of the aircraft and their nationality.  If the operator is civil registered, please include their address. 

Aircraft* – Please provide the registration, alternate registration (if required), type of aircraft and callsign the aircraft will be using within Australian airspace. 

To Australia – These are the details for the flight to Australia.  Please indicate the last airfield prior to arrival in Australia with the estimated time and date of departure and the point of entry into Australian airspace with the estimated time and date of entry.  Times and dates should be in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). 

Itinerary* – Please detail all landing ports within Australian with the estimated time and date of arrival and departure from these airfields.  Times and dates should be in UTC. 

Note: In the case where a landing port is a dual airfield, i.e. RAAF Base on one side and civil terminal on the other, please specify which side the aircraft will be parking on (e.g. for Darwin, specify RAAF Darwin for parking at the RAAF base or Darwin Intl if parking at the civil terminal). 

From Australia - These are the details for the flight from Australia.  Please indicate the point of exit from Australian airspace with the estimated time and date of exit and the first airfield after departure for Australia with the estimated time and date of entry.  Times and dates should be in UTC. 

Route* – Please detail the air route the aircraft will fly over Australian airspace.

Captain* – Please indicate captain’s title (or rank), first and last name. 

Crew and Passengers* – Please provide crew numbers (less the captain/s named above) and passenger numbers (less the VIP/s named below).

VIP* – Please provide any VIP details. Where the VIP is only on board for part of the mission, the legs in which they will be travelling should be specified in the additional information section of the form. 

Weapons* – Please indicate if weapons are being carried on the flight. If no weapons are carried please check the box at the top of the field. If weapons are being carried please detail the type and number of weapons. Where such cargo is not being carried on all legs of the journey, the weapons being carried for each journey segment should be specified in the additional information section of the form. 

Dangerous Goods* - Please indicate if dangerous goods (DG) are being carried on the flight. If no DG are being carried please check the box at the top of the field. If DG are being carried please detail the class, name, Net Explosive Quantity (in kilograms) and United Nations (UN) number in the right hand columns. Where such cargo is not being carried on all legs of the journey the DG that are carried for each journey segment should be specified in the additional information section of the form. 

Ground Handling – Defence Establishment* – If the aircraft is wishing to transit military airfield/s please provide details of ground support requirements for each defence establishment visited. Ground handling should include refuelling requirements, aircraft servicing etc.  

Ground Handling – Civilian Airfield* - If the aircraft is transiting civilian airfields, or the civilian area of joint military/civilian facilities, it is the responsibility of the foreign mission to arrange ground support requirements through a ground handling agent. Please indicate the agent who will be arranging the ground handling at the civilian airfields and/or civilian area of joint military/civilian facilities. 

Additional Information* – This section has been provided for any additional information on the flight, i.e. cargo information which will assist ground support staff prepare for aircraft arrival. 

Note: Any electronic or photo sensory equipment which will be on board and in use should be detailed in this section.

*To add more than one line to any of the above fields with an asterisks (*) please press the plus (+) button on the right hand side of the page.  Similarly to delete a line press the minus (-) button on the right hand side of the page

Note: For the plus and minus buttons on the right hand side of the page to activate, Java Script must be enabled (this is found in Page Display Preferences).   

Amendments to applications

It is advised that applications are saved. In the event of any changes to the flight details the saved request can be updated and is to be resent to ForeignAircraft.Requests@defence.gov.au.

A box on at the top, right hand side of each section is provided and should be ticked to indicate that particular section has been amended.