Melbourne's ban on international flights will continue until November

Australia's second-largest international gateway has been shuttered since July.

By David Flynn, September 28 2020
Melbourne's ban on international flights will continue until November

Melbourne's ban on inbound international flights will continue until at least early November, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed.

Australia's second-largest gateway closed its doors to all overseas flights at the start of July to help combat a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases, which is now considered to have been sparked by failures in the state-run hotel quarantine program.

A high-level inquiry on that program is now underway and is due to hand down its final report on November 6, with Andrews saying on Friday it would "make no sense" to have Melbourne resume international flights until officials know exactly why the hotel quarantine system failed the first time.

“It makes no sense to ask for a report and then have planes landing,” he said.

“I have tried to be as clear as I can on multiple occasions that we will wait for that report before I ring the Prime Minister and say flights can come back. We need to be absolutely certain that whatever system is in place, that it is as robust as it possibly can be.”

“We have reset the program, we are doing some work in the background to make sure that we can respond to that as quickly as possible, but it is not possible for us to anticipate what will be in that final report,” Andrews added.

Since July 2, inbound flights are permitted if they carry only freight, although they can take on board passengers for the return flight out of the country.

The closure of Melbourne as an inbound international airport put additional strain on other state's arrivals and quarantine programs, with the government later imposing a cap of 4,000 passengers per week.

This in turn impacted the ability of airlines to operate flights into Australia, with some flights unable to carry more than 30 passengers so as not to breach the cap.

This limit has since been eased to 6,000 inbound passengers per week, all of whom must now pay for their own hotel quarantine.

David

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.

05 May 2016

Total posts 587

The fact there are limits on Australian citizens returning to other states makes no sense with passengers now paying their own quarantine. If they are not charging enough increase the charges.

As for Melbourne it seems Dan Andrews is paranoid about a third wave and becoming the Premier who ruined Christmas. If his leadership is not already finished a third wave would finish it off.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 192

@mviy, 

I thought it would be understandable for anyone, not just politicians, to be cautious from hereon to avoid the lockdown and the death rates they have just gone through. No one wants to be see a third wave regardless of whether they have found the person(s) responsible for the second.

05 May 2016

Total posts 587

If hotel quarantine is managed properly people in there should pose very little or no risk to the community and if they're not charging enough to cover costs they could increase the charges so that every citizen that wants to can come home.

Outside of Melbourne there has been very little spread from hotel quarantine to the community and there are plenty of empty hotel rooms so it should be easy to scale up.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 390

He's a dead man walking. He will have resigned before the next state election in Victoria (still 2 years away).

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

20 Dec 2013

Total posts 32

He will not be getting my vote at the next election.

Andrew from Vermont, VIC

so Australiana CAN fly out internationally come 17 December 2020, even from MEL !!!!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 778

That is not what it says.  It says that MEL may begin accepting international arrivals in November.   It doesn't mention any changes to departures.  At this stage, it appears there may be a slim chance of trans-Tasman by Christmas; other than that it is highly unlikely anything will change from current arrangements.

The current political pressure is all about getting stranded Australians overseas back home.  The federal government has no interest in having more Aussies overseas until it can clear the backlog that already exists.  Given the rise in cases in US and Europe, it is unlikely there will be any opening of borders outside of NZ for many months yet.

OWF
OWF

06 Oct 2018

Total posts 9

I believe Andrew did a marvelous job to be honest. Although the lock-down and continuous applications for air fare refunds are driving me nine and three-quarters crazy, but it is necessary for the greater and long-term good. No one wants to see Melbourne ends up like that of the early days of Wuhan or Italy - those memories are quickly fading away I assume, for the non-medically affected mass. Economy will eventually bounce up and everything will also return to normal quicker than we think. Once safe, I will travel around the world and fly crazy beyond my own imagination. 

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 122

Nearly 800 Victorian families would disagree with you. The basket case management of hotel quarantine is linked to 99% of all cases in Victoria. Not to mention the way he continually lies and throws colleagues under the bus when it suits him. Those that praise Andrews must be suffering from a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 May 2017

Total posts 11

He did a marvellous job at causing the second wave, not managing the state government’s response to the pandemic.  To focused on wanting to control everything rather than leaving people to do their jobs.  If he had taken the same strict focus that he has on lockdowns to the quarantine program, the country would have been open already.  I think this will be a case study for the future of what not to do in a crisis.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1053

Peter the reason he had to take control as the people put in charge, the minister, was quite out of her depth and so was the department, but agree it was a huge cluster.F but do remember Gladys and Dutton on the Ruby Princess and Sco-Mo on aged care. No one is covered in glory and now we know why the others are so cautious. Tasmania doesn’t trust its hospital system and Anna P doesn’t want anything to go wrong right now. McGowen in WA doesn’t care as he is living off an iron ore boom, and SA were bribed with bulk defence contracts to open their borders. Here in the ACT we have been more luck than good management, but at least not bad management.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 122

NSW is still taking ~80% of all arrivals. It is time other states start pulling their weight and cease the free riding behaviour. In the past four days NSW has had fewer total cases than both Queensland and WA, with no incidence of community transmission. NSW should prohibit people from other states from returning from overseas into Sydney. 

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 44

No problem. Airlines (most of whom aren't flying to Australia at all at present) can just negotiate new landing agreements and gate assignments in the blink of an eye at airports other than the ones they usually fly to. Easy. Not. I would like nothing better than to fly direct to Adelaide when *finally* it is possible to fly from Canada at all, but Air Canada doesn't fly to Adelaide. They fly to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and that's it. And please don't tell me I can get to Australia via America (a place few prople want even to transit at present) or Japan; I have a non-refundable two-round-trip AC pass costing the better part of $19,000 I cannot afford to throw away.

owf

Dan = good job, NOT !!!

It's been a disaster. Vic governor should have sacked him ages ago.

& what happens with wave # 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ?

Seems everyone is relying on a vaccine that works, which is fine if there is one, but what if there never is ?

wow looks like airlines are gearing up for 17 December 2020, start to unrestricted international flights.

Just saw MEL/San Fran return departing 19 December 2020, back 7 January 2021 for only $999, in what is normally peak season.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 192

@ regular flyer 

Being a pessimist that I am, in this pandemic times, they can always cancel the flights just before it’s due and hold on to your money for a minimum period with no skin off their nose.

Not that I am suggesting the airlines are baiting pax with fake flights they know they wouldn’t fly, but it does mean your cashflow become theirs on a promise of a future service, something like buying a stored value card

19 Jan 2017

Total posts 5

regular flyer, very hopeful, but airline schedules/websites are not entirely accurate right now, and the pattern so far is that airlines will remove large blocks of flights from the system when it becomes apparent they will NOT be able to operate those flights due to government controls, etc. Best advice right now is the media and Australian Government, eg. I would not expect any international flights until at least some point in 2021, although of course that could change at any time. (I work in the travel industry).

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 778

Agreed.  There is little to no hope of any international flights other than NZ before Easter next year.  USA continues to appear shambolic so flights there could be 18 months away.  Europe is deteriorating so they may end up in same basket.  I know we need to look for an alternative to vaccine but it is hard to see what that is yet.

jfrmpto

current restrictions on international travel end December 17, 2020. Of course restrictions could be extended or got rid of sooner.

3 elections between now & then, NZ, Qld & USA & think most/all pollies will take notice of the result of these.

I think the 1st 2 will see change of govt, which will frighten many pollies. Not so sure about USA.

I wouldn't trust media. They just like spreading doom & glooom & govts want everyone to spend their $ in Australia.

Plus, repat flights only work dollarwise, if airlines can carry a decent load out of Australia as well as inbound.

If we don't get travel industry back to some sort of normal, sooner rather than later, the economy will get a lot worse.

We invest in the travel industry indirectly (hotels/cars/airlines), so keep a very close eye, on what's really going on, not what is reported in media, which is often very inaccurate, as all they want is headlines that shock.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1053

Regular I’m glad you’re not seeing thecACT government change this time round; a bit of a surprise for you.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 122

I hope you are right about Queensland. If only WA had an election. They have had the most cases of any Australian jurisdiction this week except Victoria, yet maintain a hard border from SA and NSW. Utter stupidity. 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1053

KW72 WA does actually have an election coming up early next year but the WA iron ore boon insulates them from the rest of Oz so I suspect they won't be opening until after their election. The opposition has been wedged on the issue. There is no community transmission in WA which is what the punter looks at, not the numbers on an iron ore ship..

Any airline is going to want twice as much for a repat flight in they can only carry pax inbound & not outbound.

Govts have wasted far too much money as it is.

On NZ, their election is 17 days away, if I can count. Likely ardern getting the boot. New govt(current opposition) wants to open everything up, border wise. 

If you can fly to NZ, am sure you'll be able to fly beyond NZ on many different airlines.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 778

Not a fan of Ardern but all polls point to her getting back in quite comfortably.  The only question is whether she will need to remain in coalition or will be able to govern in her own right.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 192

Ditto your assessment 

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 192

Sorry I meant 

@ reeves35

Ditto your assessment of NZ 

reeve35

so polls are so accurate, that if they say she'll win, she won't. Why do we even bother with dodgy polls anymore ?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1053

Regular what surprises me so much is that you think Andrew Barr will get back in the ACT he is the least likely on your list but will still romp it in like they will.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 354

lol @ Ardern getting the boot. She’s done an outstanding job through three of the biggest crisis events to happen in NZ in her short term. She’ll be in by a mile and the opposition do not want to fling the doors open by any means. 

she's done an awful job. Pandering to minority groups to start with.

Heard some NZ businesses are telling employees that if she gets back, they won't have a job soon.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 354

You're right, such an awful job getting New Zealand to one of the only first world countries to completely rid covid for over 100 days where life continued as normal... my, what an awful leader. Get a grip. She has my vote.

19 Jan 2017

Total posts 5

I understand your sentiment. Will see how those election results go...

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

31 Aug 2017

Total posts 5

ONE WAY OF KNOWING WHO IS GOING WHERE FOR NEXT WEEK, IT'S GOLDEN WEEK COMING UP THROUGHOUT CINNA WEEK BEGINNING OCT 01 AND ACCORDING TO SOME MEDIA REPORTS, A LOT OF CHINESE AIRLINES ARE RUNING QUITE FULL SO THEY'RE MOVING ABOUT IN THE COMING DAYS

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1053

I see Sco Mo is now pushing self isolation at home from certain countries saying it was very successful earlier. He seems to have forgotten the Ruby Princess debacle was due ot several hundred passengers failing to self-isolate at home and the bug was spread all over (including to nursing homes). That is why hotel quarantine was put in place because people couldn't be trusted to manage themselves. I cant imagine Gladys falling for that one again in a hurry

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 122

What is the medical advice for maintaining hotel quarantine for people coming from countries/places such as New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong?

You cannot compare this to the Ruby Princess that was in the very early stages of an unknown pandemic. Society can't stay locked up forever without any calculated risk. 

27 Oct 2020

Total posts 1

I have been stucniberseas for 8 months our tockets have been cancelled over 10 times can you please give us an exact date of when the international airports will open so we can come back home. The national cabinet said till at least 24th of October and now till November please give us an exact date so we can come back home this is too much all other countries have opened. 


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Melbourne's ban on international flights will continue until November