It’s welcome news for Australian expats here in the UAE…

Last week, travel plans for Australians wishing to return home were thrown into further disarray, with the announcement that Emirates was suspending flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane until further notice. Fortunately, that hasn’t turned out to be too long, with Emirates Airline announcing that it was reinstating those flights to Australia, starting today.

“Emirates will resume passenger flights to Sydney from 25 January, to Melbourne from 26 January, and to Brisbane from 28 January,” an Emirates spokesperson said.

“Emirates is keen to serve the many Australians waiting to get home, and we hope that commercial and operational conditions will allow us to continue doing so.”

The Dubai-based airline had originally cancelled the flights “due to operational reasons”. Australia has imposed strict limits on the number of passengers who are allowed to arrive each week. The flight cap was recently slashed from 7,500 to 5,000, putting further pressure on airlines that are struggling to cover the operational costs of such flights.

It is estimated that there are more than 30,000 stranded Australians wishing to return home immediately – this doesn’t take into account the hundreds of thousands of Australians who live abroad, and may wish to return temporarily at any point this year.

Testing and quarantine for crew

The Australian government has also introduced new rules regarding flight crew testing and quarantine. It is understood that the resumed Emirates flights will operate within ‘air bubbles’.

The flight crew and pilots for Australian flights will be in a bubble from 48 hours before their flight until they return to Dubai.

PCR tests will be administered to crew in their homes prior to their flight. They must quarantine at home until they go to the airport. Crew will then take another test on arrival into Australia, and must quarantine in their hotel until their return flight to Dubai.

Flying to Australia

Passengers wishing to travel to Australia should note that only citizens, permanent residents and their close family members are permitted entry at present. All arrivals are subject to 14 days quarantine in an assigned hotel, at the cost of the traveller. Regular international travel to and from Australia is not expected to resume until 2022.

Emirates has yet to update its booking portal with the resumed flight schedule, but it is expected to be added shortly. Business and First Class flights are available to book online from late March, with return flights starting at Dhs28,895.


Images: Supplied