Flights from Victoria to New South Wales are now being handled as ‘international’ arrivals at Sydney Airport, with passengers entering NSW from the COVID-19 hotspot being bundled into 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine, alongside those arriving into Australia from overseas.
While flights depart from domestic terminals in Melbourne and at other airports across Victoria, Sydney is the only NSW airport still accepting flights from Victoria – and when those flights land, the aircraft won’t call at Sydney’s domestic terminal: it’ll arrive at the T1 international terminal.
Here, travellers will undergo identity checks, other processing not unlike an international arrival, and “a robust health screening process,” NSW Health confirms, although passports aren't required (a driver's licence will suffice) and of course, there's no duty free shopping.
From the arrivals hall at Sydney Airport, travellers will be ushered straight into mandatory hotel quarantine, the cost of which will be payable by the individual.
“I realise this may be difficult for some people, but the changing situation in Victoria means we must exercise extreme caution,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said of the new restrictions.
“The health of our citizens and economy must be protected – and the health advice says this is the best way to do it."
The changes come as New South Wales toughens other travel arrangements between its own state and Victoria, some of which include placing further limits on exemptions for Victorian residents to cross state lines.
Prior to COVID-19, Sydney-Melbourne (and return) was the world’s third busiest air route with over nine million passengers making the journey each year, and some airlines offering departures every 15 minutes during peak times to handle what was previously the significant volume of travellers.
This weekend, Queensland is also closing its borders to travellers from NSW and the ACT – building on an existing ban on visitors from Greater Sydney and Victoria – with QLD residents returning from these three states and territories also ushered into mandatory hotel quarantine upon their return.