Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Qantas in talks for rescue flights to India

Qantas is in talks with the federal government about emergency flights to pick up Australians stranded in India, despite thousands baulking at the expected $3000-plus cost of a ticket home.

While the India flights are yet to be locked in, two more flights have been arranged with Latam Airlines on Wednesday to rescue hundreds of Australians trapped in South America.
A recent survey by the Australian high commission in India found just 4 per cent of more than 3100 respondents were willing to pay more than $3000 for a flight home.

An email sent to Australians in India by the high commission said evacuation planning had been complicated by the cost of flights and the fact some airlines, such as Air India, had indicated they couldn't conduct repatriation flights to Australia.
"As you know the Australian government's policy precludes assisted departures," the email says. "The survey results were very clear on this point, with only 126 of the over 3100 respondents indicating they are willing to pay over $3000 for the return flight.
"We know many of you have asked about availability of Australian airlines such as Qantas to conduct the flights. We have been exploring that. The issue of cost is likely to be the same."
The high commission said it was also working with other countries that had chartered flights to see if there was room for Australians, "in particular if they are returning to hubs that allow a connection back to Australia".
06/04/20 Anthony Galloway/Sydney Morning Herald

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