Qantas and Virgin to continue flights to London, Los Angeles

Backed by the Federal Government, the extended schedule will help bring more Australians home.

By David Flynn, May 8 2020
Qantas and Virgin to continue flights to London, Los Angeles

Qantas and Virgin Australia will continue running special repatriation flights from the UK and the USA through to June 7 to help bring home more Australians who've found themselves stranded overseas.

The flights are underwritten by the Australian Government, which has committed $50 million in support of the extended schedule.

Qantas will fly a Boeing 787 twice-weekly on the London-Perth-Melbourne route, with another red-tailed Dreamliner soaring each week between Los Angeles and Melbourne.

Virgin Australia's Boeing 777-300ER will carve its own corridor between Los Angeles and Brisbane once a week.

“The London flights have been particularly successful so we have taken the decision to increase those from one weekly service to two weekly services," observed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack.

"We are also maintaining the commitment of two weekly services to Los Angeles. These airports are strategic hubs to help meet the remaining demand for Australians wanting get home from these destinations and surrounding regions."

Tickets for the Qantas and Virgin Australia flights will be sold through each airline's respective website at commercial rates, with fares available in business class, premium economy and economy.

Qantas, Virgin Australia flight schedules

Although many of these flights are still being loaded into those airline booking systems, here's how the schedule is shaping up.


Airline & flight


Departure days


Qantas (QF9)

3:15pm-5:15pm / 6:50pm-5:05am (+1)

Sundays and Tuesdays


Qantas (QF10)

12:10pm-11:55am(+1) / 1:25pm-6:55pm

Wednesdays and Fridays

Melbourne-Los Angeles

Qantas (QF93)



Los Angeles-Melbourne

Qantas (QF94)

11:30pm-8:15am (+2)


Brisbane-Los Angeles

Virgin Australia (VA7)



Los Angeles-Brisbane

Virgin Australia (VA8)

1:30pm-8:30pm (+1)


Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said continuing the network complements the Government’s work in arranging targeted non-scheduled flights where no regular commercial options are available.

“We have played a significant role in facilitating flights from a wide range of countries, and will continue to explore options to facilitate flights from targeted destinations in the coming weeks to help more Australians return,” Payne said.

"Our advice remains the same – Australians overseas who want to come home should waste no time in taking the opportunity to secure a flight."

Both legs of the flights will also carry cargo, ranging from medical supplies to produce and other regular freight.

Earlier Government-supported Qantas repatriation flights from Hong Kong and Auckland have now been stood down based on a reduction in "immediate demand", with Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand continuing to fly from those respective cities to Australia.

Also read: PM outlines roadmap for return of domestic, int'l travel


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.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 382

It goes to show just how important cities like London and LAX are period, good times and the rough ones like now for air travel to/from Australia.

23 Apr 2020

Total posts 4

What am I missing here? The Australian taxpayer is subsidising flights back to Australia for Australians who elected to travel overseas and/or remain overseas fully knowledgeable of the COVID pandemic well past all advice given months ago not to travel or if overseas to get home now?


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1424

Piper underwritten does not mean subsided. It is if they can't get break even loads (on a minimal say one flight a week on a smallish plane); which it seems they can as they are adding flights. I suspect there are a lot of people going back on them so they may in fact be making money, hence no subsidy. A minimal schedule to London and the US is needed for all sorts of reasons.

12 Feb 2015

Total posts 91

While the story does indeed say 'underwritten', it also says the government 'has committed $50 million' so there seems to be an expectation that it will cost the community. I have to say I sympathise with the downthread comment about the expectations that the government will fix every problem any Australian encounters while overseas. It's unfortunately part of the feeling of entitlement and exceptionalism that too many Australians carry.

13 Apr 2020

Total posts 15

Piper, similar to the Australians that travel without travel insurance then expect a GoFundMe when things go wrong.

08 May 2020

Total posts 43

I think these flights will continue to be economy only? Or is there a trick to showing PE and Business availability?


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1424

You may have to give them a call.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1424

As the article says all travel classes are offered simply because an awful lot of seats are premium and business. Why shouldn't they be charged at that rate. Underwriting doesn't mean paying for the seats. The underwriting would be for an economy load.

08 May 2020

Total posts 43

What i'm trying to work out is how can i pay for a business seat?


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1424

Mt as the article says the flights are still being loaded onto the booking system

23 Apr 2020

Total posts 4

Thanks for the feedback Patrickk but that is an altruistic view. No government department ever allocated a budget that was never fully spent and in the history of the world no government department managed to make a profit from an enterprise. But, alas we will never know because the true figures will never see the light of day


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1424

Piper having worked with government they are always trying to scrimp and save on their budgets so if they save a bit on this it will be moved somewhere else. The line item is so small it will be well and truly buried in the national accounts, but if they can they will avoid paying qantas any money just like qantas tries to avoid (legally) paying government money.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 74

What i don't understand is how QF are handling using only the 787 for all their flights at the moment.

Their pilots for the remaining A380, 747 that QF still owns will lose their rating after not flying for more than 3 months unless they're hitting the simulators regularly. I know that the bigger planes themselves are too much capacity for these scheduled flights, but the repatriation flights needed more capacity easily. 7000 Aussies in India and they brought a few hundred home so far. Perfect situation for the A380 to space passengers out far enough apart throughout the plane.

So strange.

14 Aug 2014

Total posts 17

What's wrong with Qatar? They're flying three flights a day from Doha to Sydney, two into Melbourne, two into Perth and one daily flight into Brisbane.

Why does the Australian taxpayer need to subsidise these flights and give people flying home a virtual hug just because there's a kangaroo on the tail?

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