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48 flights cancelled from Sydney on Monday after border chaos

written by Adam Thorn | December 21, 2020

Australia's domestic carriers at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)
Australia’s domestic carriers at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)

Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin have cancelled 48 flights from Sydney Airport today as the result of sudden border closures at the weekend.

Qantas said it saw a surge of bookings on Sunday as passengers scrambled to get home and beat restrictions, but that has been followed by a similar increase in customers moving their flights from the next week

Every state and territory has now banned passengers from Sydney following the Avalon COVID cluster on the Northern Beaches, which on Sunday added an extra 30 cases.

See a full list of cancellations here.

On Sunday night, Qantas said in a statement, “Following changes to travel restrictions announced by the Victorian government, Qantas and Jetstar saw a surge in bookings for flights between Sydney and Melbourne on Sunday. Other routes including Sydney-Brisbane and Sydney-Adelaide are also nearly at full capacity.


“Both airlines have seen large numbers of customers cancelling their bookings between Sydney and Melbourne and a number of other routes from Monday onwards. A number of flights will be cancelled as a result. We’ll be contacting customers directly impacted by any flight changes.

“We are seeing a high level of inquiry from customers travelling to and from Sydney looking to change their travel plans, so we’d ask anyone not travelling in the next 48 hours to please avoid calling our contact centre to help us manage these volumes.”

Neither Virgin or Qantas are offering refunds, however they are allowing unlimited and free changes.

The scramble to get home has led to huge confusion among passengers, with complicated and varying rules.

SA police commissioner even had to apologise for a communication breakdown that saw passengers from Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast to go into quarantine despite beating the closure deadline.

The escalating situation is a huge blow for domestic aviation, which was on the brink of a Christmas renaissance.

Late last month, Australian Aviation reported how Virgin Australia recorded its largest day of sales since COVID, shortly after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her state would open to Sydney.

The business added that more than 60 per cent of flights booked were for travel in the lead up to and during Christmas, with searches for routes between NSW and Queensland doubling.

Queensland only opened to Greater Sydney on 1 December and NSW to Victoria on 23 November.

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Comments (3)

  • Warwick


    This is going to happen continuously, until COVD-19 is better contained than it is currently.
    Also, it’s hugely reliant on humans’ having common sense, which doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment.
    People need to grow up, & stop being so immature, & selfish.

  • KW72


    It is time airlines move to a model where they only collect customer money after the trip is taken and not beforehand. They cannot be trusted to refund money.

    You don’t pay for your meal before having it at a restaurant. Why should an airline take your money before you take the flight?

  • Len Barnard


    They should name and shame the morons who entered and were allowed to be free without quarantine..crew or pax.

    Crew especially from countries who are not exactly flavor of the month with Australia at this time. This is really more than a coincidence given the rubbish going on between with trade wars. I call it terrorism – call it what you want.

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