Australia plans to add extra flights to bring stranded Aussies home for Christmas

An aerial view of Sydney Airport. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Australia’s Federal Government is working on a plan to add extra flights to bring Australians stuck overseas owing to the coronavirus pandemic home on time for Christmas.

Around 36,000 Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents have registered with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to return home – DFAT is finalising how many people will be able to come back before Christmas.

Earlier in September, Prime Minister Morrison had said he hoped to have “as many people home, if not all of them, by Christmas”.

Australians returning home have to undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine period at either an isolation centre or hotel. Furthermore, each state has restricted the number of international arrivals each week as per their capacities – however, there have been calls for state governments to increase the number of quarantine facilities to welcome back more Australians.

Victoria, who had halted its hotel quarantine program owing to a second wave of infections, will be restarting its program from December with a weekly cap of 1120 passengers.

South Australia was welcoming 600 passengers weekly, but has been temporarily suspended owing to the Parafield Cluster. NSW has been welcoming the highest number of passengers in Australia with a weekly cap of 3,000 passengers.

Tasmania and ACT have also agreed to help welcome more passengers home.