International passenger flights have not arrived in Melbourne since February 14.
On Friday, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that he expected the Victorian Government to announce a date.
Through this announcement approximately 10,000 stranded Victorians could start to return home.
The Prime Minister told media:
“The second-highest number of Australians on are from Victoria – over 10,000 Victorians are wanting to come home.”
The Age reports that anonymous sources at Healthcare Australia said staff had been told flights would probably resume on March 13.
Further, The Age has seen internal correspondence from senior Healthcare Australia staff.
This confirms operational changes are being made to accommodate flights.
Another senior hotel quarantine source said that international arrivals would probably begin within weeks.
However, the Victorian Premier said that he was not in a position to confirm the arrival of international flights in Melbourne.
“We’ve asked our medical experts to look at what the impacts of variants of concern are on the risk profile in our hotels. When … they can satisfy me that we can have a system where we have the lowest possible risk, then flights will start.”
Victorian federal Liberal MP Tim Wilson has criticised Andrews’ decision to reopen quarantine hotels.
He told the Daily Mail:
“Any politician that is prepared to actively deny citizens access to their own country has shown they are prepared to put unconscionable and naked populism ahead of the rights of Australians and demonstrated they are not a leader.”
Till now, no official advice has been provided to staff on the resumption of flights.
It is clear that pressure to open international flights is mounting on Andrews government.
The Victorian Government is also planning to build a quarantine facility outside the city.
The aim of this move is reduce the risk of COVID-19 seeping into metro communities.