Airlines rush on a wing and a prayer
It’s Virgin on the ridiculous as Territorians are offered flights to a state that won’t let us in
THE lack of communication between the territory and state governments and airlines has left Territorians stranded — and at risk.
It’s been a missed opportunity for both parties, and damaged reputations.
The much-anticipated announcement that borders would open on July 17 had people from within and outside the Territory dreaming of where they could escape to for a bit of COVID-19 relief.
There was even more excitement when Jetstar released a bargain flight sale to Queensland.
But then many of those flights were suddenly cancelled, leaving wannabe holidaymakers with an airline credit and the prospect of having to fork out for another airfare.
Virgin then released a flight sale between Darwin to Perth, a state that won’t even let us in.
Cancelled flights and broken plans have left a sour taste in many travellers’ mouths.
Some level of communication between airlines and governments when planning border openings could have meant more people in the Territory during the Dry — and it could have preserved the reputations of airlines that are now suddenly cancelling or changing flights.
Connecting flights have also meant people in hot spots, who are required to undergo mandatory quarantine when they arrive in the NT, are mixing with passengers in safe communities who are able to disembark and go about their own business freely.
Just last week, three passengers on an Airnorth flight from Cairns to Nhulunbuy had originally come from a hot spot, and were then flown from the former biosecurity zone to Darwin for quarantine.
It was not compulsory for passengers on that flight to wear face masks.
Darwin resident Karen Schneider recently told the NT News her friends flew to Darwin from Sydney via Alice Springs, where more passengers boarded the flight.
She said her friends were quarantining in Howard Springs, but had travelled with passengers from Alice Springs to Darwin, who were not originally from hot spots and therefore did not have to quarantine.
“There was no separation, no empty seats left for spacing, and some Sydney passengers didn’t even bother wearing masks,” Ms Schneider said.
“All those Alice Springs passengers went straight back into the community without needing to quarantine.
“What would have happened if one of those hot spot arrivals had been infected?”
From Sunday, Qantas flights between Alice Springs and Darwin will be connecting from Adelaide rather than
Sydney. A Qantas spokeswoman said the airline was providing “masks and sanitising wipes to all customers as a further protective measure”.
The reopening of borders and airlines ramping up gave people hope of reuniting with families and attending milestone birthdays and weddings. But instead, the lack of communication between airlines and governments has left people out of pocket, inconvenienced and potentially exposed to coronavirus.
The lack of communication has left people potentially exposed to coronavirus
Jetstar flight JQ 687, direct from Melbourne to Darwin, arrives at Darwin Airport, and its passengers are directed to waiting buses to be transferred directly to Howard Springs for mandatory supervised quarantine of 14 days.