AUSTRALIA: Qantas to provide repatriation flights for Australian citizens stranded in Israel
Qantas has announced repatriation flights from Israel commencing this Friday 13 October 2023.
Australians who are stranded in Israel can register for assisted repatriation flights that commence on Friday from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport to London. Two flights so far have been organised.
The number to call from overseas to register for a seat on the flights is: +61 2626 3305
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The Australian Government has been in contact with both Virgin Australia and Qantas. The airlines are requested to provide assistance to repatriate an estimated 10,000 Australians and tourists from Israel. The AFR report doesn’t mention any request for repatriation of Australians from Gaza, Palestine or the West Bank.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong has been tasked with coordinating planning. Transport Minister Catherine King is liaising with Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson and her Virgin Australia’s Jane Hrdlicka. Both have been asked to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs on contingency planning for repatriation flights.
‘If you’re an Australian citizen in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and want to leave, and do not already have plans to depart through commercial options, register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s crisis registration portal. See the ‘Safety’ section for details on how to register. Keep your registration details up to date so we can contact you. We will communicate directly with registered Australians on the detail of flight departure options.’
There is a special portal to use if you want to register on the Department of Foreign Affairs website. You can access the registration form directly here.
Airlines pulling out of Israel
Many airlines are announcing the cancellation of flights to and from Israel. Foreign Affairs still thinks there are enough commercial flights available for visitors and duel citizens to book. With the whole conflict situation deteriorating, they want to have some contingency plans in place should repatriation flights be required.
Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport is currently still functioning ‘as planned’ according to the Airport website. Who knows when or if that will change? The Department of Foreign Affairs, through its Smartraveller.gov.au website, has changed its recommendations about travel to the area. It now reads:
‘We’ve increased the level of our advice and now advise Reconsider your need to travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories overall due to the volatile security situation, including the threat of terrorism, armed conflict and civil unrest. Avoid all non-essential travel.’smartraveler.gov.au
And for those currently in the area, take the advice set out above and register with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs.
This is a terrible and tragic situation. I hope that hostilities on all sides will cease as soon as possible and that reason and humanity prevail.