Qantas and Virgin Australia, the two largest Australian airlines, have ceased flying all of their overseas routes. The reason is that the Australian government has stopped funding all international flights, which those airlines had been operating.
The Australian authorities, which had been funding all of those flights in an attempt to bring home all of the stranded Australians worldwide, have stated that the fact that international airlines are resuming international flights to and from Australia erases the need of having to arrange its own. The flights which had been operated under the government program had been the following:
- A twice-weekly London - Perth - Melbourne service operated by Qantas
- A weekly Los Angeles - Melbourne service operated by Qantas
- A weekly Los Angeles - Brisbane service operated by Virgin Australia
In addition to those flights, the government had also arranged one-off repatriation flights to countries like Peru, Argentina, South Africa, and India.
Photo by Ernest Leung | AeroNewsX
Qantas has commented on the matter saying that they will continue to fly international freight operations and adding that they will be ready to resume repatriation should the Australian government require those. Additionally, the company has expressed its gladness in having helped to bring thousands of stranded Australians home as well as having helped foreign nationals go the other direction.
With this move, international services out of Australia are only United’s daily Sydney to San Francisco service, Cathay Pacific’s flights to Hong Kong, the Gulf carriers flights to the Middle East and beyond, and a few trans-Tasman flights operated by Air New Zealand.
However, the need for international flights out of Australia is not that urgent at the moment, given that only Australian citizens and immediate family members are allowed in and have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.