The second of Qantas’ new batch of government-supplemented repatriation flights departed from India on Monday and landed in Darwin yesterday.
More than 180 passengers are now undertaking 14-days of isolation at the Howard Springs quarantine facility.
The Boeing 787-9, VH-ZNC msn 39040, departed Delhi at 9:13pm on 26 October as flight QF112 and landed at Darwin at 9:46am on Tuesday.
It comes days after the first flight from the UK and follows the government’s announcement that it will increase the capacity of the NT’s quarantine facility to allow more stranded Aussies to return home.
The move came after thousands of Australians argued they were struggling to book flights home due to ‘arrival caps’ reducing availability and increasing prices.
The flight from India is reported to have coasts $1,000 for a ticket alongside a $2,500 charge for the time spent in isolation. Six more are planned including flights from South Africa.
The use of the Howard Springs facility essentially adds another 250 spaces per week onto the nation’s controversial arrival caps, which stand at around 6,000.
The restrictions limiting the number of Australians who could fly home at any one time were first introduced in July to regulate the flow of people arriving into government quarantine facilities and have been extended multiple times.
The industry body representing international airlines previously estimated that more than 100,000 Australians are stranded abroad looking to return home, with 30,000 alone in London.
Last week, the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia (BARA) also urged NSW to allocate domestic quarantine hotel rooms to overseas arrivals when the NSW-Victoria border reopens to allow more stranded Australians to return home.
“BARA understands that at present, each week some 1,600 people undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine when they enter New South Wales from Victoria,” said BARA in a statement. “If, when the requirements on arrivals from Victoria are eased, this domestic quarantine capacity were allocated to international flights, it would make a big difference.
“Expanding the New Zealand Safe Travel Zone into all Australian states and territories and a regulatory framework that permits the commercial provision of quarantine services would also benefit Australians stranded overseas.
“Some 20 flights from NZ have been arriving in Brisbane each month carrying about 500 passengers who go into quarantine. That number could now go to Australians stranded in other overseas countries if the New Zealand Safe Travel Zone was expanded to Queensland.”