Qantas has announced limited flights to Melbourne from LA and London – opening up a potentially lucrative market for expats to bring their pets back to Australia.
The Victorian capital is home to the nation’s only pet quarantine centre, with arrivals being forced to land at Melbourne Airport before their cats and dogs are taken directly to Mickleham.
Previous special Qantas and Virgin Australia flights from the US city landed at Brisbane only. While United does still fly direct from the US to Australia, their flights stop only at Sydney.
The LA to Melbourne flights are scheduled for 16, 23 and 30 May, and 6 June, while the London to Melbourne journeys will take place on 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29 May, and 3 and 5 June.
At the start of April, Qantas and Virgin resumed limited international flights to Australia from London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Auckland after agreeing to a repatriation deal with the government.
The subsidised services ran over four weeks and included freight capacity for imports and exports.
In addition, 15 airlines have signed up to utilise the new $110 million “International Freight Assistance Mechanism” government initiative, which partially underwrites cargo routes previously cut off by the coronavirus crisis.
The scheme will initially focus on key markets of China, Japan, Hong Kong and the UAE and the first airlines and freight companies to sign up are Qantas and Virgin Australia as well as Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Federal Express, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar, CT Freight, Schenker Australia, Kuehne + Nagel, Air Menzies International, Toll and DHL Global Forwarding.
Both Qantas and Virgin Australia groups suspended all regular international flights from the end of March due to the coronavirus crisis.