Record- breaking Repatriations

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to tighten the noose around airline services. With groundings and restrictions across the world, many people remain stranded. Carriers and governments have responded by operating unusual charters to bring citizens home, as Thomas Haynes and Thomas Lee explain.

Just a few months ago, coronavirus was generally unheard of outside medical circles. Since the start of the year, COVID-19 has brought the global aviation industry to its knees, presenting the single greatest crisis in the history of manned commercial flight. As governments respond to the pandemic with travel restrictions and lockdowns, demand for air travel abruptly ceased almost overnight. But many holidaymakers and overseas workers have been stranded thousands of miles from home. Consequently, airlines have been tasked to perform rare, but much-needed, repatriation flights to get people back.

In this round-up we highlight just a few from the hundreds of examples flown since the start of March.

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Restrictions in Singapore meant Qantas had to route its Sydney-London Heathrow link via Darwin in the Northern Territory.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ ADRIAN PINGSTONE

Austrian Adventure

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