Melbourne suspends international flights until July 15

Melbourne Airport pulls down the shutters to all arriving international passenger flights until mid-July.

By David Flynn, June 30 2020
Melbourne suspends international flights until July 15

All international passenger flights to Melbourne Airport are now suspended until the middle of July to help combat a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases.

Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday evening, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he has asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison to divert international flights from Melbourne for the next two weeks.

"Today's flights will be the last ones for a period of two weeks," Andrews said.

The Federal Government later responded with a directive banning all overseas passenger flights from arriving into Melbourne between 12.01am Thursday July 2 and 11.59pm Tuesday July 14, 2020.

Inbound flights are permitted if they carry only freight, but they can take on board passengers for the flight out of the country.

While Qantas and Virgin Australia have suspended all international services, Melbourne Airport – the country's second-busiest gateway – continued to host flights from Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, China Southern, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, with Malaysia Airlines due to resume flights from Kuala Lumpur as of July 3.

Air New Zealand confirms that it "received a directive late last night (Tuesday) that no international passengers are eligible to arrive into Melbourne for the next two weeks in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19 within the local community."

"Due to Australian Government restrictions Air New Zealand will not operate passenger services from Auckland to Melbourne from 1 July to 14 July," the airline advised.

However, AirNZ will continue to offer passenger flights from Melbourne to Auckland during this period. The planes for these services will be flown into Melbourne with only cargo on board, and will then return to New Zealand carrying passengers.

It's expected that airlines will reroute Melbourne-bound passengers via Sydney and other international airports, where they would spend 14 days in hotel quarantine before making their way to Melbourne, or their final destination within Australia, on a domestic flight.

"I will have conversations with other state leaders to explain that and to thank them in advance for the extra load that they will carry," Andrews said.

Andrews has also announced a judicial inquiry into the management of the state's hotel quarantine procedures after a "significant number" of outbreaks between late May and early June were attributed to staff members at hotels used for quarantine stays breaching infection control protocols.

During the shut-down of international flights, the state's hotel quarantine system will be "reset" under the supervision of Corrections Victoria.

Victoria has recorded a fortnight of consecutive double-digit daily increases, with majority of new cases attributed to community transmission.

36 Melbourne suburbs identified as coronavirus hotspots will be put into lockdown from midnight on Wednesday July 1, with residents permitted to leave home only to obtain food and supplies, medical care or care-giving, to exercise, and to attend work or education.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

The former ‘world's most liveable city' turning into a leper colony.

12 Feb 2013

Total posts 47

Don't think they will impact the freight/cargo only services?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 112

So because the staff screwed up the quarantine rules, those overseas with more than enough difficulty getting back already, are thrown into chaos again.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 378

Option 1: Identify the problem and stop it before it gets worse by sending the flights to another port (of which there are plenty). Domestic is still running, so there is no real disadvantage here.

Option 2: Continue to let infected people in before you can put better containment measures in. People who should have come back months ago when urgent advise was given to return.

06 Jul 2020

Total posts 3

Why do you say it like the people who 'should have' returned months ago had a variety of choice? A very slim portion of Australians had the opportunity to fly back months ago as well as today as borders closed and huge volumes of flights were cancelled/rescheduled.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Feb 2011

Total posts 9

Curious to see who has to pay for the passengers to then get from Sydney to Melbourne

I have the opposite problem: my Qatar Airways flight is due to depart from Melbourne next week. Now I have no idea about how I will be able to catch a flight. After spending two weeks in hotel "detention", having two Covid tests, and finally being released, I now have this issue due to my fellow passengers/countrymen refusing to take a test. As regards late travellers to Australia which was mentioned by Grannular, not all of us had the luxury of being able to choose when we would travel. Our employers, the airline operating schedules, and holidays pending were all impacts on flying. What a fine mess we are in now!

02 Jul 2020

Total posts 19

Hi, without trying to get personal details, may I ask how you are able to fly out of Australia? I am an Aussie in the UK, in the process of moving here, flew over in March around arrival of shipping container and the hammer went down so I stayed put (still an Aussie citizen BTW). I'll be flying back to Oz in the next two weeks or so and hoping to get UK Visa approved, but worried about getting stuck back there. Everyone keeps telling me “NO Australians are able to leave Australia” and yet there are flights. Im assuming you have an exemption, or maybe you have dual citizenship? Im just weighing up going back sooner or later and how that might impact my return.

01 Jul 2020

Total posts 7

I'm a Canadian citizen. Living in Aus on a work visa and moving my family back. I can leave because I'm not a citizen or PR. But I can't come back until all this is lifted.

01 Jul 2020

Total posts 1

"AirNZ will continue to offer passenger flights from Melbourne to Auckland during this period. The planes for these services will be flown into Melbourne with only cargo on board, and will then return to New Zealand carrying passengers." - Will this be the same for other airlines - specifically Qatar?

No it's not “Trying to Fly”. Qatar informed me this morning (after waiting 2 hours and forty-five minutes) that their flights out of Brissie and Sydney are still operating, but not Melbourne. You can change an existing booking to exit those two cities, as long as you can get there (good luck from Melbourne!).

01 Jul 2020

Total posts 7

Following keenly. Have flight booked July 7 on Qatar. I see today and tomorrow are cancelled and July 3 seems to be delayed by almost a full day? None of the info seems to corroborate and I'm getting nowhere with the phone lines. Etihad seems to be flying (status is not cancelled)? I thought Andrews said that outbound flights should be fine? Very concerned about how this is playing out 6 days before I'm supposed to leave! Can anyone recommend a definitive information source?

I have to agree with Basil on this one. Qatar advised no flights out of Melbourne until July 15th. Their global number is 24/7 but still no cigar for me. I used the Australian number: 1300 340 600. Have a cuppa, clean the car, come in for coffee, and you might just be in time for them answering! I was offered a voucher, QMiles, a refund or, and the option I took, to hold my ticket and rebook at no cost after July 15th. Good Luck!

I had a Qatar flight to Doha on the 9th, I called the global office on +974 4023 0000 they told me that all their flights had been cancelled until 15th July. I re booked seats for the 17th July. Give the Doha global contact centre a call and see what they say, its a 24hr operation. Good Luck

I see the an Emirates flight has just taken off from Melbourne and an Etihad one is about to, so who knows.

01 Jul 2020

Total posts 7

don't mean to question your post, however just want to make sure I am clear on your conversation. When you spoke to QR customer service, they said that all of their flights were cancelled to July 15? I assume you mean Melbourne flights? and I would then assume they didn't just mean 'inbound flights are diverted' but meant cancelled? in which case there would be no planes to go outbound? am I inferring correctly?

Hi Matilda50,

You'd have to get an exception to leave Australia again, being a dual national makes very little difference. But you need to prove you have the right to stay in the UK(passport/visa/job/wife/family etc).

Your best bet is "people ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia".

If you can prove that in that last 12 months you've spent more time out of Australia than in, you'd be fine. So maybe make sure you've spent at least 6 months out of the country 1st(not sure if that works for you). But I'd apply from where you are and explain your circumstances and see how you go, don't risk coming back without an exception or u could be stuck for a while. Most people get knocked back for more information 2 or 3 times before an exception is granted.


Hope that helps, maybe others have different advice(Im no expert).

02 Jul 2020

Total posts 19

Thanks very much for replying, Faulty Towers - I regrettably have to go back to Aus tio apply for Visa to live here in UK, you cant apply for it while here. Husband is already allowed to live here, but is in Oz now. I read the exemptions list and while we are not “ordinarily resident” here yet we were moving - shipped stuff over, bought house etc. The last step was Visa application- which Id have done had the shipment not arrived when it did, house settled and we had to get here to get it all sorted. I think looking at the list of stuff you have to provide, some of it included “proof of moving overseas” so Im banking on that. Here's hoping! Thanks again.

01 Jul 2020

Total posts 7

This title is misleading unfortunately. Are all inbound flights going to be cancelled as well? I'm trying to sort out our plans. Seems etihad is still flying but are they going to cancel too??

Dhobi, you got that right! The Qatar Airways App and Website still have my flight QR905 as "On time". Also, there is nothing in writing (email) or on their website about suspended flights to/from Melbourne. I was told yesterday there were no flights but it seems there is conflicting information, which certainly makes it hard for those of us with flights out of Melbourne. I'm on the phone again to Qatar and will update when I finally get through.

01 Jul 2020

Total posts 7

this is so aggravating. I am also on hold with Qatar at the moment. I got through to Etihad and they said they 'reserved the right to change their schedule at any time'... when I asked the question as to whether SYD or MEL was the more reliable option, they clearly said SYD. so at the moment (and I really mean at the MOMENT), it would seem safer to transit through Sydney to go international. and those planes seem too be filling up fast on both Etihad and QR.

01 Jul 2020

Total posts 7

quick update for everyone, i got through to QR customer service. They are adamant that AS OF NOW, the July 7 flight is showing as scheduled and so it will depart AS OF NOW but I should keep checking to see whether there are updates. I am rebooking my flight to go via Sydney to Doha instead of via Melbourne. Annoying but i'll sacrifice extra flying/ waiting time to gain a bit more certainty. hope that helps

01 Jul 2020

Total posts 7

I just received this message from a travel agent regarding Qatar. I've asked a followup as to how trustworthy it is that they will be fully operational.

BTW this travel agent is amazing, hardworking and helpful.

I have just completed a phone meeting with Qatar Airlines.

I was informed that whilst Qatar cancelled yesterday & todays flights from Melbourne, they are going to be fully operational outbound Australia from tomorrow onwards.

19 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

Yes the lack of consistency is driving me mad. Have flights booked from Melb to HK on July 9, no contact has been made with me to say the flight will be cancelled, and yet on website the flight no longer exists when trying to book, only the Melb-Syd-HK flight. I'm waiting to see the flight status tomorrow when it comes up for July 9, as to whether my flight is still going ahead because in Manage my Booking it still shows as ok. Utterly confusing. And flying with a toddler so I do need some certainty. It's not even clear whether they re-schedule you or expect you to re-book yourself.

Hi Fellow Sufferers, I just had a call from Qatar Airways at Melbourne Airport Operations. I CAN CONFIRM that all flights on Qatar Airways ARE still operating out of Melbourne as normal. Apparently, flights are just not arriving into Melbourne (maybe being diverted after Sydney?). I have asked for my ticket to be classed as "Open" and will book a flight when Kuwaiti airspace reopens. I would presume other carriers are doing likewise. Hope this helps.

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