A Qantas pilot has shared a heartwarming video about the airline’s effort to rescue Australians stranded in far flung corners of the world amid the coronavirus pandemic.
After coronavirus repatriation flights began to fly hundreds of Australians stranded overseas home this week, Captain Brett Newsham shared his thoughts on video from 36,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean, between Peru and Australia.
The video recorded from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner cockpit was shared by Qantas on their social media pages, with Captain Newsham revealing that he and his crew onboard flight QF 7028 and team members working on the ground were on duty as volunteers.
“The crew, as well as our travelling engineers and ground support staff, are here on a voluntary basis,” Captain Newsham said.
“They are performing tirelessly, going above and beyond to help those stranded Aussies to get back home, safe and sound.
“We were privileged to be able to repatriate over 100 Australians from Lima in Peru, back to Australia after they were put in lockdown there due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
After 30 years as a pilot flying for the airline, Captain Newsham said “it’s a proud day to be part of Qantas”.
“Today is another historic day,” he said.
“May we be around for another 100 years providing service to Australians in good times and bad.”
As the Federal Government continues to organise flights for Aussies, Qantas’ one-way repatriation flights back to Australia have a number of safety measures in place, including seat allocation that factor-in social distancing requirements to keep the cabin crew and passengers safe.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the flights are the “latest outcome of the hard work of Australia's consular and diplomatic staff” to bring citizens back home.
Stranded Aussies in Peru, Argentina, and South Africa have been thrown a lifeline with rescue flights that give them a chance to return home despite the global travel ban due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are getting Australians home, we are harnessing our relationships overseas, we are leveraging our fantastic network.”
Senator Payne also indicated that the Federal Government is working on facilitating similar rescue flights to evacuate Aussie travellers stuck in India and the Philippines.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, more than 280,000 Australians have returned home in recent weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The national carrier is operating the repatriation flights on behalf of the Federal Government “to bring more Australians home during this unprecedented time”.
The airline industry has taken a huge blow in recent months due to the coronavirus outbreak with thousands of staff grounded until further notice.
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