Nepal Airlines brings 293 Australians to Canberra, returns empty

Image Courtesy: Facebook/Australian Embassy, Nepal

A wide-bodied jet of Nepal Airlines landed in Canberra around 11 a.m (AEST) on Tuesday, 9th June, 2020. The flight is a first between the capitals of Nepal and Australia, thanks to the repatriation efforts by the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu.

It is also the third repatriation flight from Kathmandu departing for Australia since the March 24 announcement of a nationwide lockdown in Nepal. The first flight landed in Brisbane on 2nd April, 2020,  and the second flight landed in Sydney on 7th May.

There were 296 passengers aboard the aircraft – 153 Australians, 140 Permanent Residents and 3 New Zealanders. All passengers will have to undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine in ACT itself before they are allowed to head towards their respective hometowns.

This is the second repatriation flight to have landed in Canberra. On May 15, 2020, an Air India flight from New Delhi had repatriated 207 Australians home.

Meanwile, despite a Nepal government announcement to repatriate its citizens home, the plane was unable to repatriate its own citizens home. According to data compiled by the Embassy of Nepal, Canberra, more than 1,000 people have expressed their interest to retrurn home urgently. However, they were unable to board the flight owing to ‘technical issues’.

The aircraft has since left for its homeward destination.