With COVID-19, travel has come to a grinding halt. Australians are not permitted to travel overseas from Australia and there have been significant limits placed on domestic travel as well. As a result, most of the regular passenger flights that fly into Sydney have been cancelled.
Whilst some cancelled flights may not matter to those of us at home, for Australians stuck overseas, it has become a nightmare to get home. There are now just 10 commercial international flights that are still flying into Sydney. Most of these flights operate on a less than daily basis, but they generally operate at least twice a week.
Qatar Airways is maintaining their daily QR908/909 service from their Doha hub. Passengers from nearly 70 destinations can still connect at Doha onto QR908 to Sydney, although you can’t leave the terminal due to a ban on foreign arrivals. This is the best option for passengers throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa due to the ease of connections and availability of flights with Qatar.
Malaysia Airlines is operating a twice weekly MH122/123 service from their Kuala Lumpur hub. You can still transit via KL, however Malaysia Airlines has cancelled most of their flights and as such limited options are available. You can connect to KLM flights to Amsterdam at KL on a combined Malaysia Airlines-KLM ticket.
Singapore Airlines is operating at least twice weekly on their SQ211/232 service from their Singapore hub. Australians cannot transit in Singapore as all transit passengers have been banned from Singapore. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Singapore or Singaporeans returning to Singapore.
Garuda Indonesia is operating a once weekly GA712/713 service from their Jakata Hub. Australians cannot transit in Indonesia as all transit passengers have been banned from Indonesia. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Indonesia or Indonesians returning to Indonesia.
Cathay Pacific is maintaining a trice weekly CX100/101 service from their Hong Kong hub. Australians cannot transit in Hong Kong as all transit passengers have been banned from Hong Kong. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Hong Kong or Hong Kongers returning to Hong Kong.
China Airlines is maintaining a twice weekly CI51/52 service from their Taipei hub. Australians cannot transit in Taipei as all transit passengers have been banned from Taipei. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Taipei or Taiwanese returning to Taipei.
All Nippon Airways is continuing to operate three to four times weekly on its NH879/880 service from their Tokyo Haneda hub. Passengers can still transit via Tokyo Haneda, however ANA has significantly reduced their network. Options exist for connections from the US and Europe.
United Airlines is still operating their daily UA863/870 service from their San Francisco hub. You can still connect from domestic US flights onto the service to Sydney, with United offering transit from all major American cities. Passengers can transit from overseas where that country has not been restricted from transit by US officials.
LATAM is maintaining its four times weekly LA800/801 service from their Santiago hub via Auckland. Australians can still connect from throughout South America onto LATAM flights in Santiago. LATAM has special dispensation to allow for passengers to transit through New Zealand on this flight, as otherwise New Zealand have banned transit passengers.
Air New Zealand is still operating their three times weekly NZ103/104 service from their Auckland hub. Australians cannot transit in New Zealand as all transit passengers have been banned from New Zealand. These flights are only for Australians returning home from New Zealand or New Zealanders returning to New Zealand.
Australians can obviously return home easily by commercial means if they happen to be in one of the 10 destinations with service to Sydney. For those who aren’t in one of these 10 cities, Qatar Airways via Doha, ANA via Tokyo Haneda, United via San Francisco and LATAM via Santiago are the best options. This is because they are the only four places where you can still connect onto a flight to Sydney as a transit passenger.