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New blow for Australian UK repatriations as BA halts flights

written by Adam Thorn | March 31, 2020

UK-based Australians scrambling to return home were dealt a new blow with British Airways seemingly cancelling all flights after 6 April, according to its booking engine.

With Qantas halting all flights at the end of March, it means Qatar will soon be the only airline operating the so-called Kangaroo route.

BA seems to be halting flights from London to Sydney

The news comes despite British Airways continuing to stop over at Singapore, after reaching an agreement with Changi Airport.

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The Australian government has previously promised to work with Qantas to lay on a handful of additional flights, though none have yet been confirmed.

Last week, Australian Aviation reported that Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports would suspend all passenger flights, including transfers, from 25 March.

However, the decision from the United Arab Emirates was followed hours later by news that Etihad would, effective immediately, stop passengers flying if they weren’t UAE residents.

Singapore made a similar decision to stop transfers through Changi Airport, effective from 23 March. The three airports are some of the most popular for passengers flying from Europe, where many Australians live or are travelling.

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British Airways was uniquely granted permission to land for fuel in Singapore, but without giving passengers the chance to temporarily leave the aircraft and stretch their legs, as before.

Meanwhile, Qatar has become one of the last major airlines to soldier on throughout the crisis, launching a campaign highlighting its mission to “get people home”.

A British Airways A380 at the Paris Airshow. (Andrew McLaughlin)

Failing that, Australians in the UK must pin their hopes on a statement released by Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce on 20 March stating he was determined to maintain a handful of international flights beyond Qantas’ March grounding.

Speaking to ABC’s Leigh Sales, Joyce said, “We’re just going through those details with the government at the moment. There could be some international operations that will go past the end of March.”

All passengers now landing in Australia are transferred from arrivals to a hotel to complete their 14-day isolation period – with the Defence Force checking people comply with the measures.

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4 Comments

  • AgentGerko

    says:

    Why are there people “scrambling to get home”. Everyone has had at least two weeks notice and there’s nearly a week before BA stops. Nobody, apart from maybe a handful of cruise passengers, should till be in the UK as they’ve had ample opportunity to fly home already. It is vital that the international border get fully closed and stay that way until the crisis is over, as we may well recover domestically fairly quickly so long as we keep people for greater affected countries away.

  • David Langdown

    says:

    Just STFU ! You have no idea what you are on about. I have had 2 flights cancelled at last minute that were booked weeks ago. Not all of us “scrambled at lst minute. After my flights were cancelled i have spent hours looking for alternatives. This does not concern you o as i said STFU and get rid of your “I am alright Jack” attitude ….STFU !

  • John the realist

    says:

    Quite so. Give the ars gratia mea, as we used to say, to those including the “cruise passengers” who are adding enormously to the infected.

    And remove Qatar’s privileges immediately and tell them to get lost.

  • Chris

    says:

    I don’t think ‘scrambling’ is the appropriate description for people who are still overseas.
    It’s now April.
    Sorry, but to the 16,000 Aussies that flew out to holiday in places like Bali, Thailand and the UK after the PM said to not travel overseas? Suck it up.

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