Passengers are seen on the Vasco da Gama cruise ship as it arrives into Fremantle harbour in Fremantle on Friday, March 27, 2020. The Vasco da Gama has about 800 Australians on-board, including 200 passengers from WA and 240 from Queensland. There are also foreign nationals on-board, including 108 New Zealanders. AAP Image/Richard Wainwright
Passengers are seen on the Vasco da Gama cruise ship as it arrives into Fremantle harbour in Fremantle on Friday, March 27, 2020. The Vasco da Gama has about 800 Australians on-board, including 200 passengers from WA and 240 from Queensland. There are also foreign nationals on-board, including 108 New Zealanders. AAP Image/Richard Wainwright

FLIGHTS CANCELLED: CQ couples’ nightmare continues

6.30PM: In a late development the chartered plane appears to have been cancelled by the Western Australian State Government around confusion over the return of commercial flights.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga is continuing to lobby for the return of the stranded 240 Queenslanders.

See more to follow in an interview with the Zilzie couple on Friday morning.

12.30PM: TWO CQ couples will be flying home on a special charter plane this Saturday to end a seven week coronavirus nightmare that started on a cruise ship off Indonesia.

Zilzie couple Bill and Karen Spiers are among more than 200 Queenslanders on the flight after having spent more than a month stranded in a Perth hotel as they tried in vain to book airline tickets home.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga have been lobbying the governments and federal ministers for the past few weeks to arrange a chartered flight with success finally achieved on Wednesday.

The Western Australian State Government is footing the bill for the flight which will carry more than 240 Queenslanders who were cruising on the Vasco da Gama in South-East Asia when the COVID-10 crisis began to evolve and the ship was turned around.

The ship was eventually docked off the coast off Western Australia awaiting direction from the state government.

It was advised they could return home and many passengers booked flights but were then told hours later they couldn't go home and would have self-quarantine for 14 days in a hotel.

Ms Lauga said the Spiers have spent more than $2,500 in flights with Qantas and Virgin in flights that have been cancelled.

She said the money was now being held by the airline companies as credit as they refuse to give refunds.

Driving was not an option as they would have so quarantine for 14 days in each state.

Ms Lauga said the Spiers were overjoyed to be finally heading home.



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