No Need to Charter Evacuation Flights: PM Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison has rejected calls to bring thousands of Australians stranded overseas home on air force planes.

More than 27,000 Australians are waiting to return but with a weekly cap of 4000 incoming passengers, it could take well into next year.

The prime minister wants to increase the number of people who can come back into Australia by about 2000 a week.

His deputy has written to the states and territories to seek their support, as they will need to take the extra passengers into hotel quarantine.

Several premiers have signalled their support for lifting the weekly cap, albeit with caveats.

NSW, Western Australia and Queensland are each expected to take an extra 500 people each week.

Labor has urged the prime minister to use government jets to bring people back.

“Our advice is there is no need for that,” Morrison told the Seven Network on Sept 17.

“There are plenty of commercial planes … its the caps that were stopping the planes.”

The prime minister wants to lift the incoming passenger cap at the end of next week.

The Commonwealth cap was introduced in July when Victoria suffered a second wave of coronavirus and NSW struggled to cope with the extra demand.

“Now is the time weve got to start taking those caps off again,” Morrison said.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce says he wont be rethinking his decision to scrap all international flights, even to rescue Australians stuck overseas.

“The economics dont work,” he told ABC radio.

Joyce is pleading with the states to reopen domestic borders and the airline has taken out full-page newspaper ads on Thursday to push its case.

“Europeans have been fighting themselves for thousands of years but they have somehow managed to agree to keep borders open,” he said.

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