Qantas Launches Rescue Flights to Norfolk Island

Qantas will operate five return Boeing 737-800 flights to Norfolk Island. Photo: Qantas.
Qantas will operate five return Boeing 737-800 flights to Norfolk Island. Photo: Qantas.

Qantas will operate special flights from Brisbane and Sydney to Norfolk Island to assist Australians stranded by the sudden, temporary withdrawal of Air New Zealand services to the island.

Four Qantas flights will operate between Brisbane and Norfolk Island over the coming days, with an additional one flight from Sydney to the Australian overseas territory. The flights will be operated by Boeing 737-800 aircraft and only Economy class tickets are available, with Saver fares costing a fixed price of $528 one-way (to/from Brisbane) or $550 (to/from Sydney). Business class seats are not being sold, and Classic Flight Reward seats have not been released.

These Qantas flights to/from Brisbane will operate on 31 January, and 1, 2 & 3 February 2021:

  • QF183 Brisbane 10:30 – Norfolk Island 13:45
  • QF184 Norfolk Island 15:45 – Brisbane 17:10

Seats on the Sunday and Monday flights rescue from Norfolk Island to Brisbane are already sold out.

The remaining tickets to/from Norfolk Island are available on the Qantas website.

And these Qantas flights between Sydney & Norfolk Island will operate only on 31 January 2021:

  • QF179 Sydney 08:30 – Norfolk Island 11:10
  • QF180 Norfolk Island 13:10 – Sydney 16:00

Qantas has not announced plans to extend service to Norfolk Island beyond next Wednesday, and it is hoped that Air New Zealand will be able to resume its regular services once the one-way trans-Tasman travel bubble is restored.

Air New Zealand had to cancel flights to Norfolk Island this week

Air New Zealand has been the sole operator of passenger services between Australia and Norfolk Island since Norfolk Island Airlines ceased passenger services in 2018. Air Chathams is the only other commercial airline to regularly service the island, with weekly flights to Auckland, New Zealand.

Air New Zealand A320
Air New Zealand normally flies A320s from Australia to Norfolk Island. Photo: Matt Graham.

Unfortunately, Air New Zealand had to suspend flights between Sydney, Brisbane and Norfolk Island over the past week after the Australian government paused the one-way trans-Tasman bubble. Australia reinstated mandatory hotel quarantine on arrivals from New Zealand last Monday (25 January) after new COVID-19 cases were detected in Auckland. This was initially supposed to be for a period of 3 days, but was extended for a further 3 days on Thursday. Quarantine-free flights from New Zealand were due to resume from Sunday 31 January.

Air New Zealand normally uses the same planes and crew for its trans-Tasman flights and Norfolk Island services. So the changes to trans-Tasman travel arrangements have also had an impact on the Norfolk Island flights.

“The current suspension of quarantine-free flights by the Australian Government means any crew operating domestic flights in Australia must have completed 14 days managed quarantine, or be Australian-based,” an Air New Zealand spokesperson told the ABC.

Customers booked on cancelled Air New Zealand flights are reportedly being offered a refund, credit or a seat on one of the replacement Qantas flights.

Norfolk Island is open to tourists from Australia, and there are currently no requirements to self-isolate on arrival (although this could change if new hotspots are declared). Visitors are required to apply for an Entry Pass 24-72 hours before arriving.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas to Norfolk Island and odd taxes

 

Update: In March 2021, Qantas was given the contract to service Norfolk Island for at least 3 months.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]