Good news for 34,000 Aussies overseas

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne has promised to financially support overseas Australians return home amid a decreased travel cap.

The number of international arrivals has been slashed temporarily to 3035 across the country, but repatriation flights will be increased.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, says the government will provide assistance for Australians overseas.Source:NCA NewsWire

The reduction of flights has led to accusations of price gouging from airlines as more than 34,000 Australians try to get home.

Ticket prices for flights from London to Sydney soared to as high as $38,000 one-way, a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a reduction in inbound passengers in a response to the risks posed by the Delta strain of Covid-19.

QF112, a repatriation flight from India arrives at Darwin RAAF Base.Source:News Corp Australia

Ms Payne said the new cap reflected the “very challenging environment”, and encouraged those overseas to contact DFAT’s Consular Emergency Centre, especially if they need financial assistance.

“I know that there are many Australians and many families who will be dealing with this news and this change,” she told 2GB. “We have been able to assist a number of Australians financially in terms of ticket prices … we have helped over 4600 Australians and provided over $34 million to do that for those who have either had to pay costs to stay in place if they were not able to find flights or to assist with ticket prices.”

The Homeground accommodation village at Yarwun has been slated as a place to house Australians returning from overseas for their mandatory 14 day quarantine period.Source:Supplied

Travellers wanting to get from London to Sydney around July 14, on board American Airlines, Malaysia Airlines or United Airlines when the travel caps will be halved, will have to pay anywhere from $5229 to almost $36,500 for flights with multiple layovers.

She said reports of sky-high ticket prices “do raise concerns”.

With planes carrying as few as 25 paying passengers on board, many airlines are weighing up whether they continue their flights to Australia.

“We don’t want to see anyone trying to take advantage,” she said. “But … it’s a very, very difficult commercial environment in which airlines are operating.”

Ms Payne said 20 repatriation flight have been scheduled between now and September.

The foreign minister said a number of states, including NSW and South Australia, were interested in trialling home quarantine for 14 days rather than forcing Australians to pay $3000 to stay in a hotel.

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