Qantas has secured a month of flights for Australians who have been stranded overseas after airlines grounded their fleets due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Qantas has secured a month of flights for Australians who have been stranded overseas after airlines grounded their fleets due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Qantas comes to the rescue of stranded Aussies

Australians stuck overseas during the coronavirus outbreak have been given a lifeline with Qantas securing ongoing flights back home for another four weeks.

A deal has been struck between the airlines and the Australian Federal Government to keep open routes from London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Auckland to Australia.

The deal will help up to 800,000 who were overseas when the coronavirus caused mass cancellations and the grounding of airlines across the globe.

Qantas airlines is offering a four-week lifeline to Australians stranded overseas, securing flights back home. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.
Qantas airlines is offering a four-week lifeline to Australians stranded overseas, securing flights back home. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.

British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair have all grounded most of their fleets, making it difficult for people to get back from Europe.

Singapore Airlines and Emirates also cancelled flights because those countries would not let passengers transit through those international hubs.

George Brandis, Australia's High Commissioner for the UK, said the deal was important at a difficult time.

"Qantas has long had a well-deserved reputation as an outstanding corporate citizen. Once again, it has risen to the occasion by working with the Government to help Australians in an hour of and by providing a continuing service from London back home," he said.

The four locked in routes will allow travellers to get to those airports to make their way home.

George Brandis says the deal offered by Qantas comes at a vital time. Picture: Australia House
George Brandis says the deal offered by Qantas comes at a vital time. Picture: Australia House

A source familiar with the discussions added: "The High Commission pressed hard to get this done for Aussies in London. It'll be a big part of easing the stress for them, it'll make sure there's a quick way home."

Many Australians living in the UK and Europe had been worried about if they would make it back, particularly if their parents or relatives became ill in Australia.

The deals will also ease the pressure on the prices of flights to Australia, which had increased as less services were available.

Elizabeth Ames, national director of the Britain-Australia Society, said: "This announcement is great news for Australians living in the UK and Brits looking to return from Australia.

Many other Europe-based airlines have grounded their fleets leaving people stranded. Picture: Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP
Many other Europe-based airlines have grounded their fleets leaving people stranded. Picture: Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP

"It highlights the importance of the strong policy and political relationships between the two countries that has enabled these agreements when so many other flights are cancelled."

Qantas said in a statement: "As the national carrier, Qantas is proud to operate these flights on behalf of the Federal Government and help bring more Australians home. "Maintaining strategic air connections from Australia to hubs in the UK, US, Hong Kong and New Zealand will enable essential travel and freight to continue during this crisis."

stephen.drill@news.com.au

Originally published as Qantas comes to the rescue of stranded Aussies



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