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Important Travel Update

21 January, 2021, 16.15pm

Restrictions remain in place for travel to and from QLD, NSW & VIC.

If you are travelling in the next 48 hours and wish to change your booking please click here

If you are not travelling within the next 48 hours, please click here to manage your booking. We appreciate your patience. 

For more information on Interstate Travel Restrictions please click here to obtain the latest information for those travelling to, and from NSW.

If you are travelling to or from QLD, NSW and VIC it is important to remain up to date around the evolving quarantine and lockdown rules which may have changed as the situation develops. For the latest updates on each state, see below.

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When can we travel again?

There have been many proposed timelines by industry and government bodies, however, these timelines should be viewed as a guide only, and will be reliant on the Australian Government opening up the borders for citizens and permanent residents to travel freely.
 
The proposed 'Trans-Tasman travel bubble', which would allow travellers from Australia and New Zealand to move freely between the two nations, is being gradually rolled out with New Zealanders now allowed to travel to NSW, SA and the NT without the need for quarantining. 
 
At the current time, it appears international travel may not resume until sometime in 2021. For the latest travel advice please visit Smartraveller and the World Health Organisation.
 
For more information on domestic travel restrictions and border openings head here.
 

 

Travel restrictions and rules

Interstate Travel Restrictions

Last updated - 3.15pm January 22 2021. 

If travelling interstate, check the below quarantine and self-isolation government requirements for each individual state in the drop downs below.

Note: Face masks are mandatory in all Australian airports and on domestic flights excluding children 12 and under or those with particular exemptions.

  • South Australia lifted its quarantine requirements on Sunday, January 17 for travellers from Greater Brisbane, except those linked to the Grand Chancellor cluser high risk locations. However, anyone arriving in SA from Greater Brisbane will still need to be tested on days one, five and 12 after their arrival until Thursday January 21.
  • All travellers must complete a Cross Border Travel Registration
  • Borders open to all states except for NSW
  • As of 12:01am January 1, South Australia’s borders are closed to some parts of NSW, and essential travellers must apply for an exception.  SA is open to Regional NSW as of 12.00am January 13.
     

To learn more about the current restrictions, here is the SA Government travel advice

  • Greater Brisbane will end its restrictions at 1am on Friday January 22, meaning face masks will no longer be mandatory at indoor public spaces but will remain mandatory in airports and on planes as per the Federal Government's mandate.
  • Borders open to all states without quarantine or border declaration, except NSW
  • Travellers in QLD who have been in Victoria since 21 December should get tested and quarantine until they have a negative result. From 4 January they are barred from visiting QLD hospitals, aged care facilities and disability accommodation facilities.
  • All travellers from NSW must complete a border declaration form
  • Border to QLD is closed to Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong.
  • Travellers arriving from the NSW hotspots must apply for an exemption, and if granted, enter hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense. Returning residents must declare themselves at the border and are allowed to quarantine in their own homes.

To learn more about the current restrictions, here is the QLD Government travel advice

  • From January 25 travellers fom QLD and NSW will be able to enter WA without an exemption.  Travellers will still be required to self-quarantine for 14 days and undergo a covid-19 test on day 11.  The same restrictions were bought in for Victorian travellers from Monday January 18.
  • Residents free to travel around state, except to remote Aboriginal communities
  • Borders open to all other states without quarantine
  • All travellers must apply for a G2G Pass declaration

To learn more about the current restrictions, here is the WA Government travel advice

  • Travellers from NSW who have been in Greater Brisbane since January 2 must isolate until 7pm EDT Monday, January 11
  • The Northern Beaches and surrounding areas lockdown period has now finished and residents are free to travel.
  • Residents of Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains must wear a mask in certain indoor settings.
  • Borders open to travellers from all other states

To learn more about the current restrictions, here is the NSW Government travel advice

  • Residents free to travel around the state
  • Face masks are mandatory in all NT airports and onboard all flights from January 20. Children under 12-years-old and people with medical conditions are exempt.
  • The NT has revoked its Greater Brisbane hotspot declaration, travellers will no longer have to undergo mandatory quarantine upon arrival in the NT.
  • All travellers already in the NT who have been in Brisbane since January 2 are encouraged to self isolate and get tested immediately.
  • Greater Sydney has been declared a Covid hotspot. Anyone travelling from this area must undertake 14 days of supervised quarantine in either Alice Springs or Darwin, at a cost of $2500 per person.
  • Borders open to all other states without quarantine.
  • Travellers must complete a border entry form.

To learn more about the current restrictions, here is the NT Government travel advice

  • The ACT has lifted its hotspot declaration for Greater Brisbane, residents and travellers are now able to travel freely into the ACT.
  • Borders are open to all states except for travellers from Cumberland LGC in Greater Sydney.
  • Anyone who is in quarantine in the ACT from anywhere other than Cumberland, they will be allowed to exit quarantine at 3.00pm on January 22.
  • ACT residents who have been in an affected area must complete an online declaration, and self-quarantine for 14 days. 
  • Non-ACT residents are advised not to travel to Cumberland unless they hold an exemption.
  • Face masks will now be mandatory at Canberra Airport in the terminal and on the tarmac.

To learn more about the current restrictions, here is the ACT Government travel advice

  • At midnight January 21, Greater Brisbane and some parts of Greater Sydney will be moved from 'medium-risk' to 'low-risk', meaning travellers from this area entering Tasmania will no longer need to quarantine.  Parts of Greater Sydney remain 'medium-risk' area.  Travellers who have spent time in a medium-risk area in the 14 days prior to arrival in Tasmania are required to quarantine, either in a suitable premises or in a government-designated quarantine (fees can apply)
  • Borders open to all states without quarantine except those from NSW & Victoria
  • Travellers who have been in identified hotspots must apply for an essential traveller exemption, without this all people from these areas are banned from entering the state.
  • All travellers must register travel via the Tas e-Travel system. 

To learn more about the current restrictions, here is the TAS Government travel advice

  • Victoria updated its travel permit system on January 11 to a 'traffic light' system.
  • Greater Brisbane moved to a green zone at 6pm January 22.
  • The Blue Mountains, Wollongong and most of Greater Sydney moved from a red zone to orange from 6pm January 18.  Cumberland is the only LGA in NWS to remain a red zone.  The rest of NSW has moved to a green zone.
  • Anyone travelling to Victoria from orange zones will still need to apply for a permit, get a test within 72 hours and remin in isolation until they recieve a negative result.
  • Anyone wishing to enter Victoria must first apply for a travel permit, this includes residents returning home.
  • Face masks are mandatory indoors, and number restrictions apply to venues and to the number of visitors to a private home

To learn more about the current restrictions, here is the VIC Government travel advice

 

International Travel Restrictions

Last updated - October 28 2020.

  • Australia’s borders are currently closed
  • International travel is currently banned for Australian citizens & permanent residents without an exemption
  • Temporary visa holders & visitors do not require exemption to leave Australia, but will need one to return
  • All arrivals into Australia are required to pay for their own government-directed quarantine, except for those arriving from New Zealand who don't need to quarantine as part of the 'Trans Tasman travel bubble' agreement.

What to expect when travelling

It may feel like a rare occurrence to see a plane in the sky at the moment, but each day there are still hundreds of flights taking off and landing across the country. 
 
So how are major operations like airports and hotels operating under strict COVID-19 regulations and limitations? Are the airports really ghost towns? Can you access airline lounges? How clean are hotel rooms? 
 
We were curious about all of this and more, so we booked General Manager Flight Centre Business Travel Tom Walley a ticket, got him to jump on a plane and film the trip so you can have a front-row seat and experience what it’s like to fly in a COVID-19 world. So grab some snacks, buckle up and take off with us as we fly from Brisbane to Adelaide and back again!

Permits

Entry conditions, forms and quarantine requirements for all states can be found: 
 
If you are an Australian citizen or a permanent resident, you cannot leave Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions, unless you have an exemption. You can apply for an exemption online through Home Affairs but you must meet at least one of the following criteria:
  • your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid 
  • your travel is essential for your business/employer
  • you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • you are travelling outside Australia for three months or longer
  • you are travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds 
  • your travel is in the national interest.
You must provide evidence to support your claims, and more information on this can be found on the Home Affairs website: click here
 
Online application form: click here
 
If you are granted a travel exemption, you will need to take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.
 

Personal Safety

Contact details and websites of the local state and territory health departments can be found here: click here
 
If you are feeling unwell or displaying any symptoms associated with COVID-19, do not go to the airport. Seek medical advice and talk to your travel agent about deferring your travel plans.
Hygiene recommendations from the Department of Health include:
  • regularly wash your hands with soap and water 
  • covering coughs and sneezes
  • avoid touching your face
  • maintain social distance
  • avoid contact with people who are unwell
Further information can be found here: click here
 
Wearing a face mask is not mandatory within airport terminals (except for in Victoria where everyone must wear a mask when they leave home, unless an exception applies. This is enforceable across regional Victoria from 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August), but you are encouraged to do so. Airlines maintain various requirements around the use of face masks and provision of evidence of negative COVID test results while travellers are in transit and when arriving at the final destination aligning with border controls. Some airlines are providing complimentary face masks which they encourage passengers to wear, while others are not.  
 
This information is subject to change without notice, we recommend you familiarise  yourself with the relevant airline and government policies at the time of booking and again immediately before travel.
 
Yes, although there are still restrictions on the amount of liquid you can carry on international* flights which is a maximum of 150ml. 
 
*Australia has strict border measures in place. As a result very limited flights are currently available to and from Australia to those with travel exemptions. 
 

Airline & Airport Safety

Australian airlines are committed to safe travel by:
  • Encouraging the use of the COVIDSafe app.
  • Enhanced ‘gate-screening’ processes to identify symptoms of concern displayed by any boarding passenger.
  • Staggering the boarding process.
  • Spacing of passengers where possible.
  • Enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures.
Additionally, some airlines are:
  • Providing onboard PPE kits and encouraging the use of face masks inflight.
  • Reducing cabin service, minimising interactions.
  • Providing onboard sanitation stations and the provision of anti-bacterial wipes for passenger use. 
  • Implementing new procedures to isolate any passenger who becomes sick during the flight.
Airports around the country have implemented new safety measures including:
  • Encouraging the use of the COVIDSafe app
  • Encouraging social distancing where possible, in terminal, kerbside, in car parks and on transfer buses, including installing floor markings and bollards where practical
  • Free sanitation stations at terminal entry points, screening locations, on transfer buses and at boarding gates
  • Increasing cleaning schedules and touch point sanitation with hospital grade disinfectant in terminal, on transfer buses and in car parks
  • Trolley wipe stations installed in car parks and trolley stations
  • Sharing hygiene and social distancing reminders via static and digital signage and PAs in terminals, car parks and buses
  • Encouraging meeters and greeters and non-travellers to not enter the terminals, where practical
  • Providing protective sneeze screens and PPE for front line staff where practical
  • Providing additional hygiene training for staff and contractors.
 
Something to consider when flying is that throughout several of  the country’s airports, many food and retail outlets are also temporarily closed.
 
For information on each airport’s COVID-19 measures visit: 
 

Health advice continues to recommend that healthy people in the community do not need to wear masks, while the rate of community transmission of COVID-19 is low. For instance Brisbane Airport continues to follow the advice of Queensland Health and as such, while staff are welcome to wear face masks and PPE at BNE, this is not currently a mandatory requirement.

The airport security screening process remains the same, however travellers are encouraged to practice social distancing where possible and use the sanitation stations and sanitation wipes made available at each screening point for hands and trays. Travellers are welcome to carry their own hand sanitiser on board however there are still restrictions on the amount of liquid you can carry on international flights which is a maximum of 150ml.

While some domestic airports have chosen to implement temperature checks, there has been no recommendations or directives by health authorities to do so, as temperature checking does not guarantee the absence of someone carrying the virus. While temperature checking will not be mandatory for domestic passengers at all airports, you may notice some temperature check stations around the terminals. These have been implemented by individual organisations, separate to the airport, as part of their COVID Safe plan.

Important Travel Advisory:  When travelling you need to ensure you meet the current COVID-19 travel regulations and advisories for your departure point, destination, and any transit points prior to booking. All information on this page has been sourced from the following government and industry bodies, which you can also visit: IATA COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map, Smart Traveller and Australian Home Affairs.

Travel updates

For all the latest traveller updates and information click here.

Emirates reverses decision to suspend Australian flights
Posted on: 22 January 2021

Flights to Sydney will resume from January 25, to Melbourne from January 26, and to Brisbane from January 28.

The airline said in a statement, "we regret the inconvenience caused to our customers in the period where we had to temporarily suspend our services."

"The pandemic has made international flying incredibly challenging, and the dynamic restrictions and requirements implemented by the different state authorities in Australia had added complexity and burden to our operations," it continued.

The backflip coincides with the Australian Government's new requirement for passengers to have a mandatory negative Covid-19 test before travelling to Australia. The temporary reduction to the cap on international arrivals will remain in place until mid February.

Emirates Suspends East Coast Flights
Posted on: 19 January 2021

The airline made the announcement on Friday evening, confirming its last flight into Brisbane from Dubai would be the next day, while the last flights into Sydney and Melbourne would be on Tuesday January 19.

The airline confirmed it would continue to operate its twice-weekly flights into Perth from Dubai. In a statement to the ABC, the airline said the flight suspensions were due to "operational reasons".

The Federal Government in response said it would redistribute the places, allocated to Emirates under the international flight cap, to other carriers.

The move follows the Government's decision to temporarily reduce the cap on international arrivals due to the risk from the new variant strain of Covid-19.

After Emirates’ statement, the Government announced it would schedule 20 repatriation flights to help stranded Australians from January 31 to March 31. The extra repatriation flights are "over and above" the existing caps on returning international travellers and will be flown to locations that are willing to work above those caps.

Travellers will be taken to the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory, as well as to locations in Canberra and Tasmania. For more information on these flights, travellers are advised to contact the Department of Foreign Affairs.

International Travel Update - Arrivals Halved, Masks & Testing Mandatory
Posted on: 8 January 2021

The Federal government announced on January 8, 2021 they will be introducing new caps on international arrivals in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, lasting until at least February 15, 2021.

In New South Wales there will be a weekly cap of 1,505, in Queensland there will be a cap of 500, and in Western Australia the cap will be at 512 arrivals.

There will be no change to the number of arrivals into Victoria, as they are already operating at less than 50% of current capacity. There is also no change to arrivals into South Australia, the ACT, the Northern Territory or Tasmania. The new caps will be rolled out in the week following the announcement.

They also announced that wearing masks will be mandatory for passengers and crew on all international flights. The government has advised that passengers should wear masks while in international airports and for the duration of the flight.

Finally travellers from the United Kingdom will be subject to rapid testing before they board flights to Australia. They must return a negative Covid-19 test result prior to departure to Australia. There will be exemptions in extenuating circumstances.

Federal Government Announces Mandatory Facemasks For All Air Travel
Posted on: 8 January 2021

The Federal government announced on January 8, 2021 they will be introducing a new infection prevention and control mandate for domestic and international flights.

All passengers and crew will be required to wear facemasks in international and Australian airports and also while flying, excluding children 12 and under, and those with other accepted exemptions.

Crew will also be required to wear masks and other personal protective equipment and airlines will be required to have appropriate infection prevention and control measures onboard. International air crew will be newly required to undergo Covid-19 testing in Australia every seven days or on arrival as determined by the state governments.

The new measures and compliance arrangements are expected to be rolled out over the course of the following week and will be put in place by the federal and state governments.

QLD announces 3-day lockdown as Federal Government declares Brisbane hotspot
Posted on: 8 January 2021

Australian states and territories have been quick to reimpose border restrictions on people travelling out of Greater Brisbane in response to the state announcing a 3-day lockdown and the Prime Minister declaring the region a hotspot at a federal level.

Customers travelling in the next 48 hours who wish to manage their booking, please click here to get in touch.

If you are not travelling within the next 48 hours and wish to manage your booking, please click here. Please do not call as we are only able to assist customers departing in the next 48 hours.

Our Travel Updates page here has all of the most up to date information on each state’s border updates for those travelling to, and from Queensland.

It is important to remain up to date around the evolving quarantine and lockdown rules when travelling to and from Queensland, which may have changed as the situation develops.

States impose border restrictions and bans on NSW
Posted on: 21 December 2020

Australian states and territories have been quick to reimpose border restrictions on people travelling out of  New South Wales in response to the state’s growing coronavirus outbreak.

Customers travelling in the next 48 hours who wish to manage their booking, please click here to get in touch. 

If you are not travelling within the next 48 hours and wish to manage your booking, please click here. Please do not call as we are only able to assist customers departing in the next 48 hours.

Our Travel Updates page here has all of the most up to date information on each state’s border updates for those travelling to, and from NSW.

Those who are travelling to NSW are urged to be mindful that upon returning, the quarantine rules may have changed for your home state, as the situation in NSW develops.

 

Cap On Returning Australian Travellers Eased
Posted on: 23 September 2020

PM Scott Morrison has announced an easing of the cap on international arrivals to help Australians stuck overseas. From this Friday, September 25, the cap will be raised from 4,000 to almost 6,000 to support Australians returning home.

The Government wants to see WA, Queensland and NSW each accept an additional 500 travellers a week, while South Australia has already agreed to lift its weekly capacity for international travellers by 360. The ACT, NT and Tasmania have all been asked to assess their capacity for hosting returned travellers.

“Another way we’ll be able to help more Australians get home is that we’re working to ensure that New Zealanders can come to Australia, and Australians can return from New Zealand without the need to go through quarantine if they’re not coming from an area where there is an outbreak of COVID-19,” Morrison said.

United Arab Emirates travel update
Posted on: 30 July 2020

From 1 August 2020, all travellers wishing to transit or enter the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will be required to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued within four days of the traveller’s scheduled travel date. The safety measure was announced on 24 July by the UAE Government to keep all passengers and citizens safe and healthy.

Both Emirates and Etihad Airlines have informed Flight Centre that they will only accept COVID 19 tests from Pure Health testing clinics (or their representatives) in Australia. Each test costs $153 per person and is mandatory for all passengers.

Pure Health clinics will provide the test results in a format that the UAE Government will accept, and will guarantee a test result within 48 -72 hours. Please click the link below and follow the prompts to locate your nearest approved clinic: COVID 19 Screening Registration

Passengers who do not have an approved negative test result from a Pure Health Test Clinic, and who attempt to board a flight to the UAE, will be denied boarding.

For more information click here.

Details of quarantine changes for international arrivals
Posted on: 14 July 2020

The New South Wales Government has released the details of it's plan to charge arriving international travellers for their own quarantine accommodation costs from 12:01am Saturday, 18 July.

Customers who purchased their flights before 11:59pm 12 July AEST will be excluded from quarantine fees, however these travellers will still be required to quarantine in government arranged accommodation for 14 days.

For more information on this topic click here

Federal Government places limit on international arrivals
Posted on: 14 July 2020

To limit the risk of further Coronavirus outbreaks, to protect the community and reduce strain on the hotel quarantine process in Australia, the Federal Government will limit the number of international arrivals into Australia to 4,000 per day from Monday 13 July 2020.

The Government has also indicated that passengers arriving into Australia will be responsible for the cost of their own hotel quarantine, however this is the decision of the individual State Government and will be communicated once plans are confirmed. 

This is already in place in Queensland, and just announced for NSW to come into effect from 12.01am Saturday 18 July 2020.

We recommend that customers check their State Govt. websites for more details before travelling or returning to Australia.