Qantas is launching repatriation flights from New Delhi, London and Johannesburg to bring home 1315 Australians currently stuck overseas.
The carrier says these are the first international passenger flights it has operated since June, and all services will be underwritten by the Australian government and operated on a cost recovery basis.
Using its B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, the national carrier will operate eight return services: four from New Delhi, three from London and one from Johannesburg.
The London and New Delhi flights will operate direct to Darwin. The airline says the arrival port for the Johannesburg flight is “being worked through” and all passengers will enter 14-day quarantine.
The one-way economy fares cost A$2150 from London, A$1750 from Johannesburg and A$1500 from New Delhi.
Additional flights to other destinations “may be announced in due course”, says Qantas.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will contact Australians in vulnerable positions who have registered with the department in the United Kingdom, South Africa and India,” reads a statement from the carrier.
Qantas says all passengers will be Covid tested at least 48 hours prior to departure and must test negative in order to board the aircraft. They must wear masks throughout the flight and will be tested again on arrival in Australia before entering 14-day quarantine.
“As with other international charter flights, crew will have additional protections including personal protective equipment, in-flight service will be scaled back and there will be ‘crew only’ areas at the front and back of the aircraft. All pilots and cabin crew working on these flights will have volunteered for them,” says the airline.
Qantas posted the following dates for the flights on its website:
Sydney to London
Departing Sydney to London Heathrow via Perth on
London to Darwin
Departing London on
New Delhi to Darwin
Departing New Delhi on
Johannesburg to Australia
“Date to be advised”