Special Handling Shipments

Not all shipments are treated the same, here is information about unique shipment types that need a bit of additional care

Each aircraft type has a Special Load Location Table which shows where these items can be loaded. This should be considered at time of booking and flight planning and based on the shipment information you provide to us

Dangerous Goods

The carriage of Dangerous Goods to, from or via New Zealand or in any New Zealand registered aircraft, regardless of its location, is governed by the Civil Aviation Rule Part 92.

Some of the basics required to send dangerous goods with us can be seen here.  All requirements are applied as per the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.


Dangerous goods requirements

Live Human Organs & Urgent Medical

In the event of the requirement to transport urgently required supplies for the use in transplantation, transfusion or lifesaving procedures there is a need to closely monitored all stages of the acceptance, handling, transporting and delivery processes.

Communications must be made with all stations (including any transit stations) and applicable departments to ensure the shipment travels as planned.

The shipper/agent is required to ensure that the product is packed, labelled, documented and presented in the correct manner to maintain the correct temperature range.

Urgency can only be demonstrated if shipments are pre-booked.  It is important that the airline can understand the nature and urgency from the shipper in order to ensure clear communication out to all departments who need to be involved in the transaction. This includes accurate documentation to support an expedited journey from start to finish.


Fresh & Perishable

The airline has some specific process to be followed for many perishable commodities but as a minimum requirement the acceptance, packing and handling of perishables for transportation by air shall be in accordance with principles and provisions of the IATA Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR).


Should a shipment require special handling this information is to be supplied and inserted into the 'Handling Information' box of the Air Waybill.

Under no circumstances are Air Waybills to be completed with specific temperature requirements such as 'Keep at 5 C at all times' or 'keep chilled at all times' are not acceptable.


Perishable LabelExample of perishable label


Packaging must be of a standard that will help maintain the condition of the contents and minimise the effects of transportation (time and environment changes). All packaging must provide adequate protection of its contents and prevent contamination of other load or spillage or leakage during normal handling for the entire period of transportation.

Many perishable commodities require both inner and outer packaging to provide adequate protection for the product and to prevent leakage.

Some perishables are susceptible to heat build-up and when in fully enclosed packaging they can sweat and deteriorate (e.g. flowers).

These perishables must not be wrapped in cling film/plastic wrap when loaded.

Marking & labelling

Packages must be labelled with the applicable IATA 'Perishable' or the 'Time and Temperature Healthcare' label and any applicable handling labels such as 'Orientation' labels 'Dry Ice' labels or similar.



Fish & Seafood



Human Remains

Cremated or embalmed Human Remains may be accepted on our airline services provided that all packaging and documentation requirements are met. In circumstances or where there are no embalming facilities or due to religious and/or cultural reasons non-embalmed Human Remains can be accepted as long as the requirements listed for non-embalmed remains are met.

Human remains are the most emotionally sensitive cargo that we carry. It is critically important that we handle these shipments with priority, care and compassion.

Maximum casket sizes on aircraft are:

  • A320 - no restriction.
  • Q300 - unable to be carried except for child caskets.
  • ATR-72 limited to the standard 170cm casket and children's casket.




Shipping Caskets

Air New Zealand national cargo has undertaken a review of the processes and requirements for the shipping of caskets as cargo on Air New Zealand domestic flights to ensure our procedures protect the health and safety of our staff and customers, as well as supporting proper and safe handling of all caskets.  Learn more about these changes.


Livestock refers to any breed or population of animal kept by humans for a useful, commercial purpose. The most common Live Stock transported by National Cargo is day old chicks.

Livestock shipments must be accepted, carried and delivered in a humane manner in accordance with the product specifications, IATA Live Animals Regulations and applicable governmental regulations. Unbooked livestock can be accepted if capacity is available on the sectors requested. The container in which live stock is presented must meet the IATA and Air New Zealand specifications

Note for domestic New Zealand pet shipments please go to our National Pets Services page


Valuable Cargo

Valuable cargo is booked as product FAST. Valuable cargo may be bank notes, jewellery or similar items that are of high value. Valuable cargo is stowed as normal cargo, however is usually loaded into the aircraft last at origin and unloaded first at the destination.

Valuable cargo means a consignment which contains one or more of the following articles:

  • any article having a declared value for carriage of US$1,000 (or equivalent) or more, per gross kilogram;
  • gold bullion (including refined and unrefined gold in ingot form), dore bullion, gold specie and gold only in the form of grain, sheet, foil, powder, sponge, wire, rod, tube, circles, mouldings and castings; platinum; platinum metals (palladium, iridium, ruthenium, osmium and rhodium) and platinum alloys in the form of grain, sponge, bar, ingot, sheet, rod, wire, gauze, tube and strip (but excluding those radioactive isotopes of the above metals and alloys which are subject to Dangerous Goods labelling requirements);
  • legal banknotes, travellers' cheques, securities, shares, share coupons and stamps;
  • diamonds (including diamonds for industrial use), rubies, emeralds, sapphires, opals and real pearls (including cultured pearls);
  • jewellery consisting of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, opals and real pearls (including cultured pearls);
  • jewellery and watches made of silver and/or gold and/or platinum; articles made of gold and/or platinum, other than gold and/or platinum plated.


A security escort will be provided at originating, transit/transfer and destination stations for all currency shipments. The escort duty will normally apply from secure storage to aircraft stowage at originating station; surveillance at transit stations; aircraft stowage to aircraft stowage at transfer stations; aircraft stowage to secure storage at destination station. 


Consignments must be packed in strong and secure packaging with a substantial fastening.

Fragile Cargo

Typical fragile commodities are antiques, works of art, chinaware, glassware, earthenware, cast-iron articles, TV and radio tubes, sculptures, etc.

Fragile cargo shall be accepted only if securely packed in containers made of solid material such as wooden cases, preferably new ones. If the container is breakable, e.g. glass, it should be surrounded by enough absorbent material to absorb any liquid in the container, should it be broken. Make sure that each package is marked with the 'Fragile' and 'This Side Up' labels. If any special handling and/or stowing is required, this must be indicated on the package as well as on the air waybill.

Outsized & Heavy Cargo

When accepting unusually heavy and/or bulky packages the following requirements must be considered:

  • Ensure the item can be accommodated in the type of aircraft operating over the route(s) concerned.
  • Check there are suitable loading and unloading facilities at uplift and discharge stations.
  • If transhipment is involved ensure that verification is obtained confirming onward carriage.
  • Where manual manoeuvring is required for loading into the aircraft ensure ground handling staff are aware at both uplift and discharge stations.
  • If special lashing and restraint is required ensure arrangements are made beforehand to have appropriate restraints applied. This may include arranging for suitable dunnage and lashings.

Conditions of Carriage

The conditions of carriage cargo international also apply to national cargo shipments.

Our Domestic Fleet

Domestically,  Air New Zealand operate a mix of aircraft:

The aircraft type in use to destinations will determine the amount of cargo space available depending on passenger loads/bags. 


Airbus A320/321
Jet aircraft, Containerised

Aerospatiale ATR72
Turbo prop, 'Bulk' (hand) loaded
Pieces should be limited to maximum 32kg (heavier items by request)


Bombardier Q300
Turbo prop, 'Bulk' (hand) loaded
Pieces should be limited to maximum 32kg (heavier items by request)


Boeing 787-9*
Although this aircraft is not usually used domestically it may be scheduled from time-to-time.  *Contact to the National Cargo team for further information.