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Friday, May 14, 2021

Canberra Airport welcomes 300 Australians returning from Nepal

A repatriation flight of 296 Australians landed at Canberra Airport on Tuesday morning, in the first direct flight from Nepal to the nation’s capital.

The flight departed from Kathmandu, landed in Canberra and then returned 11 Nepalese nationals to their home country.

Canberra Airport’s Head of Aviation Michael Thomson said he was pleased the airport could assist in bringing more Australians home from Nepal.

“Sydney and Melbourne have been taking a large number of repatriation flights… it’s not something we put our hands up for, but we are happy to take them and support returning Australians,” he said.

The returning Australians will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said in a press conference on Tuesday he was unaware if the flight had any Canberran passengers.

Mr Barr also said he expected most passengers to spend their quarantine period in hotels.

“It will depend on a number of individual circumstances, particularly to do with the health needs of individuals,” he said.  

“The Chief Health Officer does have the discretion to allow for a different form of quarantine if that is medically warranted. 

“There would be a range of reasons why that would be the case, but my expectation as a starting point is that everyone is quarantining in hotels with rare exceptions.”

Mr Thomson said the repatriation flight from Nepal differed slightly from the last to land in Canberra, which came from New Delhi in mid-May.

“Passengers went out of the public exit onto buses at the front of the airport instead of through a quarantine bay on the tarmac,” he said. 

“Last time everyone was wanting to make sure it all ran smoothly but we felt fairly confident with this system in place.

“The health authorities were comfortable with them moving through the public area while assisted.”

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