First India flight to touch down in Australia
The government's first repatriation flight out of India since the controversial flight ban has departed on schedule and is en route to Darwin with dozens of Australians on board.
The Qantas flight departed New Delhi just after 12am AEST on Saturday and is due to touch down in the Northern Territory at 9.50am AEST.
Passengers will then spend two weeks quarantining at Howard Springs.
Nearly half of the 150 Australians booked on the flight were not able to board due to their COVID-19 results.
It's understood a total of 72 were turned around after 48 people tested positive and a further 24 were deemed close contacts.
Australians wanting to return home must be tested 72 hours or less prior to their scheduled flight, which needs to come back negative in order to fly.
It's understood the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade worked to fill the flight with more passengers, but the pre-flight testing window proved an obstacle.
The next government repatriation flight from India is expected to arrive in Darwin on May 23.
Another @Qantas ✈️ with medical supplies from 🇦🇺 has arrived in 🇮🇳 today. We stand with our Indian friends in this challenging time . #AustraliaStandsWithIndia#dosti#AustraliaIndia@ScottMorrisonMP@narendramodi@MarisePayne@DrSJaishankar@MEAIndia@dfatpic.twitter.com/og8OdSfgv3— Barry O’Farrell AO (@AusHCIndia) May 14, 2021
On the way to India the Qantas plane was loaded with vital supplies, including ventilators and oxygen, which Australia has donated to the subcontinent as it battles a deadly second wave of the coronavirus.
Originally published as First India flight to touch down in Darwin