Returning to Australia Updated 28 January 2021 0100 (GMT)
Finding a flight
There are two types of services operating from the United Kingdom to Australia, at the moment:
- scheduled commercial flights;
- facilitated commercial flights
Scheduled commericial flights
Airlines continue to operate scheduled commercial flights to Australia. While the majority of Australians return on scheduled commercial flights, there are restrictions on the number of passengers airlines can carry.
This page provides you an with overview of airlines operating scheduled commercial flights to Australia. The number of passengers that each airline can carry to Australia is aligned with the number of places availiable in each port of arrival's mandatory quaratine facilities. These arrangements provide a cap on international passenger arrivals, set by National Cabinet, which airlines must stay within.
Airlines with temporary suspensions of operations
- Singapore Airlines - due to transit restrictions by the Singapore Government, there are temporary suspensions on many of the flights operated by Singapore Airlines. Some services continue to operate with on-aircraft transit in Singapore. If you are scheduled to travel on Singapore Airlines, you should contact them to understand whether your service is operating.
- Cathay Pacific - all flights from the United Kingdom to Hong Kong are suspended.
Airlines who continue to operate flights to Australia
- Qatar Airways
- Japan Airlines
- All Nippon Airways (ANA)
- Etihad Airways
- Qatar Airways
- Emirates Airline
These flights transit through other countries, foreign government regulations can change with little or no notice.
Please check with your airline or travel agent before booking and again before travel to ensure the government of the transit county is allowing transit passengers for your flight. It is important to note that these services are commercial flights -- they operate on a regular airline schedule and we have no specific guarantee of their reliability. You should always be careful in making your travel bookings, carefully understanding the terms and conditions of travel and what you are entitled to in the event of a disruption.
Facilitated commercial flights
The Australian Government continues to arrange facilitated commercial flights from the United Kingdom to Australia to bring Australians home.
Many of these services are operated by Qantas.
We refer to these flights as either ‘facilitated commercial flights’ or ‘special flights home’ – they are also referred to by others as ‘repatriation flights’.
On 16 January 2021, the Australian Government announced a further 20 facilitated commercial flights would operate between 31 January 2021 and 31 March 2021 to assist vulnerable Australians overseas to return. We will contact Australians registered with us about these flights directly.
The Government prioritises vulnerable Australians for places on these flights, and draws information from the registrations provided by Australians at COVID19.dfat.gov.au.
From April 2020 to June 2020, there were 12 facilitated commercial flights operated by Qantas Airways as part of the Australian Government’s ‘International Aviation Network’ to bring Australians home. All Australians were able to access these flights through usual booking channels, and airfare prices were fixed by Qantas and the Government.
From October 2020 to January 2021, there were 6 flights operated by Qantas Airways with the support of the Australian Government to bring vulnerable Australians home. These services operated to the Howard Springs Quarantine Facility and were specifically for those assessed as vulnerable by the Government.
Before the airport
Before you fly, you should pay careful attention to several key details associated with your return to Australia.
- Complete the Australian Travel Declaration. It is an online form for passengers to complete, that will assist the Australian Government with contact tracing and quarantine arrangements upon arrival. To help the Australian Government prepare for your arrival, you should fill out the form at least 72 hours prior to your departure to Australia. More information is here.
- Get a PCR COVID-19 test. Passengers travelling to Australia on flights departing on or after 22 January 2021 (local time at departure point) will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result at the time of check-in. At the time of boarding, you will need to provide proof of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result that has been provided by a laboratory. This test must be conducted 72 hours or less prior to the scheduled departure time of your flight (or first flight if you have one or more connecting flights booked for your travel to Australia). You can read more about the requirements for your test, and the information that the certificate indicating you had it must have, from the Department of Health here. While we do not provide a list of testing providers, the UK Government has a register of private coronavirus testing clinics. You can view that list here but it is your responsibility to ensure any particular test comports with the guidelines outlined by the Department of Health in the linked webpage above.
- Wear a mask. Passengers travelling to Australia on flights departing on or after 22 January 2021 (local time at departure point), you must wear a mask for the duration of your flight, and in Australian airports. You should also wear a mask in the airport before boarding your flight. State and territory legislation requires that individuals wear a mask in domestic airports and on domestic flights while in Australia. You should check state/territory requirements for your onward travel after completion of quarantine.
Preparing for quarantine
Quarantine involves staying in a room for 14 days with no visitors. It is an unfamiliar experience for most people. You might find it challenging, so it’s important to have a plan. Use the two-part guide described below to help prepare for your quarantine stay.
Get across the latest advice and what you can expect – then prepare and pack for quarantine. Part one of our guide provides a general overview of the quarantine experience. It also has a checklist of ideas of what to bring and what to do before you depart.
Setting up a routine or a schedule will help make quarantine more manageable.
Part two of our guide provides tips and advice that will help you get through quarantine.
These materials provide general advice and guidance. You should use it together with location-specific information from state and territory governments and further information provided to you once in quarantine.