Flight home for stranded Aussies

A flight departing Faleolo Airport for Australia on 29 March will give Australian citizens a last chance to return home after Samoa's borders were closed under this week's state of emergency. 

The Australian High Commission announced the flights late on Friday local time.

The statement stressed that the flights were not chartered or private flights and that passengers would be returning home on commercial terms. 

The flight will be operated by Samoa Airways. 

“A facilitated commercial flight is available from Faleolo International Airport to Sydney, departing late on Sunday 29 March and arriving early on Monday 30 March 2020,” read the statement.

It also added that to person that wishes to reserve a seat must email [email protected]

And provide full name, date of birth, passport details, gender and contact phone and email for all passengers, by midnight tonight, 27 March. 

“We will phone you early on Saturday 28 March to confirm your interest,” the statement reads. 

“This is not an Australian Government charter flight or operation. This is a commercial service and we have no control over pricing.

“You will be responsible for domestic travel from Sydney. Border restrictions are changing frequently.”

The notice also encouraged interested applicants to check with the Australian Department of Home Affairs, and with their state or territory, for the latest entry requirements and quarantine restrictions.

“Only Australian citizens, permanent residents and New Zealand citizens who normally reside in Australia (subclass 444) can come into Australia,” the statement said. 

“The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may consider additional exemptions for immediate family members (spouse, dependent children, legal guardian) of an Australian citizen, and third country nationals seeking to transit. 

“You can find additional information, and apply for an exemption, on the Home Affairs website.”

According to the Department of Home Affairs under the Australian Government, all people entering Australia must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival from a foreign country. 

It added that from 9pm on 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.

“You may board a domestic flight to your intended destination in Australia to self-isolate there,” the Department states. 

“If you are well and not symptomatic, you may self-isolate in a hotel.

“If travellers do not comply with their 14 day self-isolation requirements, they may face a range of penalties that exist in each State or Territory.”

 Australia’s coronavirus death toll rose to 13 on Thursday. 

People failing to comply with coronavirus imposed restrictions on quarantining in the country’s largest state, N.S.W., will face fines of between AUD$1000 for individuals and AUD$5000 for businesses. 

The country has more than 2,800 confirmed cases of the virus, also known as COVID-19. 


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