Two flights carrying hundreds of Australians repatriated from India arrived in the morning on Friday, May 5 as part of a globe-spanning effort to return stranded travellers.
Two Qantas flights left New Delhi on Thursday heading for Sydney and Melbourne. A third plane carrying Australians will arrive in Sydney on Sunday.
Each flight carried 188 passengers, with a ticket costing $2,300. All tickets were sold out in 20 minutes.
The Australians are being brought home after being stranded in India following the spread of the virus.
Foreign minister Marise Payne told The Sydney Morning Herald on May 4, “The situation in India has been, and remains, complex, with Australians located across 27 Indian states and with internal and external travel restrictions continuing to apply.”
All are expected to be quarantined in hotels for two weeks.
In a series of comments posted on Twitter on May 8, the Department of Foreign Affairs welcomed back travellers from Laos, Vietnam, and Lebanon:
“122 passengers arrived in Sydney this morning from Laos & Vietnam, incl 79 Aussies. Facilitated a special commercial @VietnamAirlines flight from Vientiane to Ho Chi Minh City, with an onward leg home to Australia Airplane.”
122 passengers arrived in Sydney this morning from Laos & Vietnam, incl 79 Aussies 🇦🇺 🇱🇦 🇻🇳
🇦🇺 facilitated a special commercial @VietnamAirlines flight from Vientiane to Ho Chi Minh City, with an onward leg home to Australia ✈️
— DFAT🇦🇺 (@dfat) May 8, 2020
“A further 101 Australians and their families have arrived home from Lebanon
Our Embassy in Beirut worked with @qatarairways on a special commercial flight to Doha, linking passengers to regular services to Sydney and Melbourne.”
A further 101 Australians and their families have arrived home from Lebanon ✈️ 🇦🇺 🇱🇧
— DFAT🇦🇺 (@dfat) May 7, 2020
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on May 8, “People had assumed (we’d) finished, but we’re still welcoming Australians back from overseas in New South Wales.”
“As more people leave quarantine, we are accepting more planeloads of people coming in,” she said.
Some 3,500 people are being quarantined in Sydney hotels, down from a total of 13,000 when border controls first came into effect.
“We’ve had 31 major hotels involved in this process,” Berejiklian said.
The rescue efforts have seen Qantas flights going to Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, and Peru.
Payne told reporters on April 19 that around 11,000 Australians live across the world.
Around 300,000 people have returned to Australia since March 13.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has published additional information on the Smart Traveller website.
Qantas is currently offering flights from Los Angeles and London. Transit hubs Kuala Lumpur, Doha, Los Angeles, Paris, London, and Tokyo are still open.
Australians in other cities and countries will need to work closely with airlines and overseas consulates for travel arrangements.