A wide-bodied aircraft of Nepal Airlines has departed from Kathmandu for Sydney on Wednesday afternoon. The flight, made possible by the Australian Embassy is repatriating 127 Australian citizens, 149 Australian permanent residents, and 5 New Zealand nationals. It is the second succesful repatriation effort by the Australian mission in Kathmandu. A further third flight was also planned, however has been canceled owing to insufficient interest.
The flight is scheduled to make a brief stopover at Kuala Lumpur, and is expected to land in Sydney on 7th May, 2020. The rescued passengers will have to undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine before they are allowed to proceed to their respective homes. The return flight will also carry 30,000 COVID-19 testing kits, which will be onboarded in Kuala Lumpur.
Like its previous effort, the Australian Embassy has done a commendable effort towards the repatriation effort – they were able to secure permission from the Nepal Government towards facilitating the rescue flight. They coordinated directly with Nepal Airlines towards their second repatriation effort, and managed to bring in Australians stranded from districts as far as Jhapa.
“118 passengers were transported from locations outside Kathmandu, including 40 from Butwal/Chitwan, 18 from Jhapa and 18 from Pokhara”, the Embassy said on its Facebook statement.
The flight is being captained by Captain Bijay Lama.
Meanwhile, Nepalis stranded in Australia unable to head back home:
Many Nepalis stranded in Australia were hopeful they would be able to return back home to Nepal on the flight arriving into Sydney. However, they will be unable to. Nepal’s international flights and border, which has remained shut since 21st March, 2020 will continue to remain shut until 31st May, 2020.