The document, seen by the Herald, states that Qantas crew who live in another state or territory will be able to leave Sydney Airport to board a domestic flight home “if they travel in accordance with a COVID safety plan.”
“This will include wearing a mask and suitable distance made available between the crew member and other people travelling on the flight. Qantas will have procedures in place for this when crew are travelling,” the document says.
A NSW Health spokeswoman said crew who live interstate will have to travel in “suitable transport”.
For ACT residents, this means they can drive in a private vehicle, while other interstate residents will have to fly in a plane with no domestic passengers, she said.
“The onward domestic travel of international aircrew guidelines will have to be complied with.”
If crew members from interstate cannot transfer home within a reasonable time they will have to isolate in one of two police-run hotels: the Pullman Mascot and Novotel Sydney International Airport, until their flight.
Under the changes, from 12.01am Tuesday, crew who are Australian citizens who reside in NSW can self-isolate in their household so long as they take a swab test and make a declaration confirming they have had no contact with a COVID-19 case and they have had no symptoms.
Crew members who travelled to New Zealand will not have to quarantine or self-isolate.
Crew from international airlines who do not have a residence in NSW will be required
to quarantine in either of the designated police-run hotels, until their next flight out of Australia, or 14 days, whichever comes first.
NSW Health will contact Qantas crew members throughout their self-isolation to ensure they are adhering to the rules.
“Failure to comply with home self-isolation requirements may result in serious fines or penalties from NSW Police,” the document said.
It adds that other states are expected to make “some changes to their requirements for international aircrew which may be similar to these changes for NSW. We will communicate these to you as soon as we become aware.”
Measures already in place for Qantas crew on repatriation flights overseas include requirements that all crew go directly to their hotel and not leave their rooms until they return to the airport.
Crew are given additional protective equipment and are required to wear masks during the flight and passengers are required to undergo a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of departure and must return a negative result in order to board.
Flights cancelled, empty seats
The northern beaches outbreak, which counted another 15 cases on Monday, has prompted the re-emergence of hard border closures between NSW and the rest of country, effectively ruining Christmas for families across Australia.
By mid-afternoon Monday 100 flights had been cancelled in and out of Sydney Airport.
Passengers were also not arriving for their flights, with 50 no-shows on one Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Melbourne this morning, according to a source at the airline who declined to be named.
– with Patrick Hatch
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Lucy Cormack is a state political reporter with The
Sydney Morning Herald.