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Qantas and Virgin asked to repatriate Aussies from war-torn Israel

written by Jake Nelson | October 11, 2023

Victor Pody shot this Virgin Australia 737-800 and Qantas 787-9.

Qantas and Virgin have been in contact with the Australian government to investigate repatriation flights for Australians in Israel as the conflict continues.

Both carriers confirmed to Australian Aviation that they have been in touch with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to help Australian citizens get home from Israel, which has been rocked by sudden attacks from militant group Hamas.

According to figures reported in The Guardian, around 12,000 Australians are currently in the country, though many of these are likely to be dual citizens who may wish to stay.

Transport Minister Catherine King is understood to have spoken with Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka and Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson to “convey the Government’s sense of urgency and ask them to work with DFAT on options for repatriation flights”.

Neither Qantas nor Virgin offer direct flights to Israel, though Qantas codeshare partners including Emirates and El Al, and Virgin partners including Etihad, fly to Tel Aviv.


Qantas has also responded to reports from outlets such as The Daily Mail accusing it of charging “thousands of dollars” to Australians wishing to change flights from Israel, saying allegations it is “charging customers exorbitant fares to flee Israel are completely wrong”.

“Qantas does not fly directly to Israel. Some customers have booked flights to and from Israel on our partner airlines via Qantas.com,” the Flying Kangaroo said.

“All of these customers can get a refund if they no longer wish to fly or we will waive the change fees if they want to move flights. This is subject to seat availability on other flights.

“Customers who are trying to leave Tel Aviv and are having difficulties with flights can contact us to discuss alternatives.”

Qantas and Virgin are expected to provide more information on potential repatriation flights as details emerge.

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