Three new Indian repatriation flights will are set to land in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide during the next week.
The first will depart Delhi for Brisbane on 28 May via Darwin, followed shortly by Perth (departing 1 June) and Adelaide (departing 3 June). A further flight will see passengers quarantine in Darwin, which will depart on 30 May.
It comes after the third Indian repatriation flight since the pause landed on Wednesday.
The Qantas 787-9, VH-ZNH, departed Delhi at 9:51pm on 26 May as flight QF111 and landed in Darwin at 10:40am, before continuing onto Melbourne.
As a part of the agreement to undo the ban on flights from India, passengers must complete two COVID-19 tests in the two days prior to boarding – one PCR test and one rapid antigen test.
More than 70 people originally scheduled to fly back to Australia on the first flight post-pause were not permitted to board.
All passengers will complete their 14-day quarantine at their final destination, even if they stop off at Darwin.
Late last month, the federal government introduced a temporary ban on all flights from India, halting eight planned repatriations, due to the rapid spread of coronavirus in the country.
The government later made it a formal crime for anyone to attempt the trip, punishable with a $66,000 fine.
The PM said it would first target the 900 “most vulnerable” Australians stuck in India after the brief pause expired.
“The original decision to put in place that biosecurity order until the 15th of May has proved very effective and it will run its full course until that time without any change,” PM Morrison said at that time.
“What we will be doing is receiving our first repatriation flight into the Northern Territory as part of the charter arrangements we have … to bring back those first people from India at that time.
“The challenge we have had with arrivals from India is the higher incidence of infections and the stress that was placing on the quarantine system.”
Later, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she would be “pleased” to accept passengers from India, while Victoria, SA and Queensland were also said to be considering helping with the load.
The move to stop repatriating expats in India was a blow to the more than 9,000 in the country who were registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as wanting to return.
On Thursday, acting Victorian Premier James Merlino appeared to blame the federal government’s handling of hotel quarantine for contributing to the state’s latest lockdown, which started on Friday.
It came after Labor’s federal leader, Anthony Albanese, tweeted that “outbreaks will keep happening if Scott Morrison doesn’t fix quarantine”.
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