Facilitating flights to bring Australians home
The Hon Michael McCormack MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development
The Australian Government is continuing to assist hundreds more Australians to return to Australia by facilitating commercial flights from Peru, Argentina and South Africa.
A Qantas service from Lima to Australia is scheduled to depart Peru on Monday 13 April. Subject to confirmation of regulatory and operational approvals, the details of commercial services to Buenos Aires and Johannesburg will be confirmed in the coming days.
This is in addition to a flight organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with South American airline LATAM, which departed from Lima, Cusco and Iquitos in Peru today. We are pleased that 280 Australians and four New Zealanders are scheduled to arrive in Melbourne tomorrow morning.
We are also working on facilitated flights from further destinations in the coming weeks, including to India and the Philippines.
Border closures and internal restrictions on movement in many countries around the world, along with the complexity of arranging such flights should not be underestimated. Australian officials are working closely with relevant governments to support Australians to travel internally to major airports and gain the necessary flight approvals and airport clearances in locations where Australian airlines do not typically fly.
These further flights are the latest outcome of the hard work of Australia's consular and diplomatic staff and Australia's airlines to assist Australians overseas. It follows the return of more than 280,000 Australians in recent weeks, including more than 6,200 Australians who have safely disembarked 45 cruise ships around the world.
Details for these latest flights will be confirmed in coming days, with information provided directly to registered travelers. As they are commercial services, passengers are responsible for purchasing tickets.
The Australian Government will, where possible, support non-scheduled commercial services to further locations to bring Australians home where there are few other options to depart.
We continue to urge Australians to promptly return home where possible by commercial means if they wish to do so. The Government will support Qantas and Virgin Groups to keep open key routes to London, Los Angeles, Auckland and Hong Kong for the next four weeks.
The Australian Government will continue to do all it can to support Australians overseas in these unprecedented circumstances.