A snap seven-day lockdown and sudden internal border closures have seen scores of flights in and out of Melbourne canceled and the travel plans of thousands thrown into chaos. The arrivals and departures board at Melbourne Airport is awash with cancelations, with 186 flights canceled on Friday alone.
Fast-moving series of events in Melbourne
Less than one week ago, the Australian state of Victoria was boasting 85 plus days of no locally acquired cases of COVID-19. But an outbreak in Melbourne’s suburbs put an end to that. That outbreak has been traced to a hotel quarantine snafu. On Friday morning, the Victorian State Government had reported a total of 30 cases linked to the latest outbreak.
In recent days, internal Australian borders have started closing to those recently in Melbourne. Border rules change so quickly that passengers inflight are unexpectedly met at the arrival airport by authorities and taken into a 14-day quarantine. This happened this week to more than 100 passengers landing at Darwin. Stories also circulate of passengers been removed from a long-distance train in the outback and escorted in quarantine.
On Thursday, May 27, there were 70 cancelations at Melbourne Airport. Today, the number of cancelations is more than doubling. It is a blow for Melbourne Airport and the airlines that fly there. Melbourne Airport had recovered to about 75% of its 2019 aircraft traffic movements, which usually numbered between 650 and 700 a day until the worldwide travel downturn.
Airlines hurry to cancel services into Melbourne
Melbourne is a key airport for Australia’s most high-profile domestic airlines – Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, and Rex.
More than 30 Virgin Australia flights in and out of Melbourne have been canceled across Friday. A Virgin…