Iberia will launch a special rescue flight to ferry Spanish citizens out of Australia, as part of a global repatriation effort which will see some 6,000 Spaniards returned home.
The charter flight, arranged in collaboration with Spain's Foreign Ministry, will depart Sydney on Thursday April 30 at 4.10pm, then head to Madrid via Bangkok. Its touchdown at Madrid-Barajas Airport is scheduled for 9.45am on Monday May 1.
Sydney's Spanish Consulate-General advises that passengers will be charged a "special negotiated rate flight" of €800 (A$1,370) plus taxes, although the flights are not being sold through Iberia's website – would-be travellers must complete an online registration form, after which "Iberia will contact travellers after a time to offer them a place based on availability."
Over the next two weeks Iberia will mount similar flights from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Manila, and Peru.
"Another 2,000 people will return home in this second wave of Iberia repatriation flights, following the 6,000 of the first wave," the airline says, citing previous flights to the likes of Algeria, the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Japan, Morocco and Poland.
Other options presented by the Consulate-General to Australia's stranded Spaniards include Qantas' Melbourne-London flights, which run every Sunday from April 12 to May 3, with Iberia servicing the final leg of the journey from London to Spain; and Qatar Airways', with "stopovers in Doha and Paris / London / Frankfurt / Dublin / Rome with the possibility of final destination Madrid or Barcelona."
Iberia is the latest in a string of airlines little-seen in Australian skies which have made a fleeting appearance for coronavirus rescue flights: others include Austrian, German carrier Condor, El Al, KLM and Poland's LOT.