Key Points:

  • Amid escalating violence in the region, the Australian government is facilitating free repatriation flights for its citizens from Tel Aviv to London via Qantas.

  • Although the flights are set to begin Friday, further flight details are in discussion between Qantas and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Dfat).

  • While the initial plan includes two Qantas flights, there's potential for more depending on demand, as disruptions to other international routes are anticipated.

Qantas to facilitate repatriation flights for Australians in Israel

SYDNEY — In light of the increasing violence in the region, the Australian government has initiated a plan to repatriate its citizens from Israel. Collaborating with Qantas, the government aims to run at least two free-of-charge flights departing from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport bound for London. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese pointed out the urgent necessity of this operation, highlighting the numerous flight cancellations and delays faced by Australians.

Scheduled to take off from Friday, these Qantas-operated repatriation flights will most likely use Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which can accommodate 236 passengers. However, the flights' finalization is contingent upon ongoing security assessments and approvals from multiple countries. Despite Qantas not being a regular operator on the Tel Aviv route, they are stepping in to ensure the safety of Australian citizens. This extraordinary measure might lead to disruptions in the airline's other international schedules.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong emphasized that while two flights have been confirmed, more could be introduced based on demand. It's estimated that around 12,000 Australians are currently in Israel, with a significant proportion being dual nationals who might prefer to stay. Australians wishing to avail of these repatriation flights are urged to register with the government's 24-hour consular emergency center. Additionally, those who find themselves unable to reach Ben Gurion Airport can contact the Consular Emergency Centre for further support.

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