Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne is facilitating commercial charter flights to bring hundreds of Australians home from Peru and Uruguay over the coming days.
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the Government has been able to support these flights after holding discussions with Australian travel company Chimu Adventures, which will manage the charter operations out of Cusco and Lima in Peru and Montevideo in Uruguay.
“The Australian Government has worked positively with Chimu Adventures to provide assurances, including indemnity and the underwriting of unforeseen costs, without which the flights would not be able to proceed.
Ms Landry said she was happy to see this occur, especially after her office was contacted by concerned parents whose children were stuck in Peru.
“This flight will be welcome news for many concerned and worried parents who have contacted me since these countries have closed their borders.
“It’s a great relief to see this happen after fighting for it,” Ms Landry said.
The flight from Lima is fully subscribed and is expected to carry more than 260 Australian nationals and permanent residents and is expected to depart Lima within days, subject to final approval of departure permission from Peruvian authorities.
The flight from Montevideo, which is also scheduled to depart in the coming days, will collect Australians from the Ocean Atlantic cruise ship, which is moored at the port in Montevideo, as well as other Australians in the area who wish to return home.
Further facilitated flights are already being planned for Australians in South America, due to particular challenges with transport out of the region.
Australian embassies in Lima and Buenos Aires are working with local authorities in Peru and Uruguay to ensure all arrangements are in place for the flights to Australia, which has required careful and consistent negotiation.
They are also working hard to provide Australians with up-to-date information through their social media platforms and Smartraveller.
“We understand many Australians overseas face great difficulty getting home. We have agreed to consider, on a case-by-case basis, supporting commercial airlines to operate non-scheduled services to less central locations for Australians.
“We continue to urge Australians who have opportunities to travel back to Australia by commercial means, to do so as soon as possible.
“I want to extend my sincere thanks to Minister Payne for negotiating with the relevant governments to ensure this can happen and for assisting Central Queenslander travellers stuck overseas,” Ms Landry said.