Qantas is adding two more repatriation flight to its growing, with Government-backed flights from Buenos Aires and Johannesburg to Melbourne.
This weekend will see charter flight QF7028 from Buenos Aires pick up more than 150 Australians, along with 20 New Zealanders, who have been stranded in South America for many weeks since the coronavirus outbreak.
Staffed by a volunteer crew, the Boeing 787-9 will depart Buenos Aires at 2pm on Saturday April 25, commencing a 15 hour, 11,600km trek back to Melbourne for a 7.30pm touchdown on Sunday April 26.
Although Australia’s borders are closed to all but Australian citizens, residents and their immediate family members, all of whom must all undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine period at a hotel upon arrival into the country, it's believed that special dispensation has been granted to the Qantas flight's New Zealand passengers, who will go be put up at a hotel on Sunday night and fly back to NZ the next day.
"I’m really proud, along with the whole crew who volunteered for this service, to be playing our part to bring these people home," said Qantas Chief Technical Pilot Alex Passerini, who will be behind the stick.
"I also look forward to seeing the look on people’s faces as they approach the aeroplane and see that kangaroo on the tail and hopefully make them feel like they are just about home."
Another Boeing 787-9 will scoop up Australians stranded in South Africa, with the Melbourne-bound Dreamliner departing Johannesburg on Wednesday April 29.
As with other Qantas repatriation flights, all passengers have paid the same flat-rate economy fare, with the Department of Foreign Affairs determining who will be seated in premium economy and business class.