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Australia plans second Peru rescue flight with Qantas

written by Adam Thorn | April 1, 2020

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has confirmed the government is in talks with Qantas to schedule a second flight to Peru to bring Australians home.

Previously, the government worked with travel company Chimu Adventures to lay on flights to Peru and Uruguay, but faced criticism when it emerged some passengers paid more than $5,000 for an economy ticket, and twice that for business.

Talking to the ABC on Wednesday, Minister Payne said there are “literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Australians at any time overseas” and there are still “a very large number of Australians overseas”.

Minister Payne added, “We are continuing to work with Qantas on further flights to assist Australians who are still [in Peru], and also just trying to facilitate internal travel for Australians who are in more remote and isolated parts of Peru to come to the city centres – to come into Lima, to Cusco, so that they are able to access those flights.

“I expect to have more information from my department, from Qantas, on those in the coming days.”


The previous flight to Peru landed in Sydney on Tuesday, but reports quickly emerged of the travel operator charging enormous prices for a basic ticket.

It’s unclear whether the Australian government will reimburse travellers. A further flight is expected to land in Uruguay on Wednesday.

On March 20, Australian Aviation reported that Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce pledged to maintain a handful of international flights beyond the business’ March grounding to return stranded Australians home.

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.”

In the last two weeks, it’s become far harder for Australians in Europe and the US to travel back.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Singapore have suspended airport transit, while British Airways has cancelled all flights to Australia from after 6 April.

The airline previously had a deal to refuel in Singapore to make the journey possible, but without giving passengers the chance to temporarily leave the aircraft to stretch their legs.

Now, only Qatar is providing flights between London and Sydney.

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Comments (6)

  • Red Cee


    Good news. Much more sensible than allowing a profit gouging company to way overcharge. Let’s hope Qantas charge a reasonable and appropriate fare.

  • Pete


    “A tidy bit of coin”? These people clearly have no idea how much it costs to operate a 787.

    Maybe next time come back as soon as a global pandemic is declared, rather than leave it for weeks until you need to be bailed-out, then whinge about how much it costs.

    Zero. Sympathy.

  • NH


    Agree with Pete. If I was stuck in Peru, I would gladly pay $5000 to come home. I was trapped in Botswana a week ago and a group of six of us paid just over A$12,000 to charter a Cessna Caravan for a two and three quarter hour flight to Johannesburg to ensure we could get home on one of the last Qantas flights. Definitely money well spent.

  • It is unsurprising that air fares for stranded travellers to return to Australia are high when aircraft are flying empty with all the usual costs of fuel, landing fees etc to far away places such as Peru. Zero sympathy to those stranded passengers who have shown a complete lack of situational awareness or disregard and not return home much earlier, knowing about this pandemic since December, then whinge for a government bail-out. Use some nous and exercise some responsibility.

    • Debbie


      So you knew about this in December? Clever you seeing as how China didn’t let anyone know until 7 January (check timeline). Then it was only in Wuhan, China. It wasn’t until late January that a case was in Australia and that was from a person who had travelled from China! Our own Prime Minuster was saying it was safe to go to the football in March! My family, son daughter-in-law and 2 grandchildren travelled to Peru in December when we hadn’t even heard of coronavirus. They tried to get flights home but couldn’t as they were all cancelled. They were stranded and asked the Foreign Minister to help, which by the way is their job! Please be careful making comments about people being stupid as sometimes that is not the case as with my family and I’m sure many others. We are all just very concerned and would like our families safely home and if that means asking the Government for support that what we will do. Have some empathy!

  • John Marsh


    Are these people who complain on Twitter all two years old? That appears to be the mental age of these morons, who are too simple to understand that Australia owes them nothing.

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