Thousands of Australians may be unable to board planes home for Christmas as COVID test wait times continue to grow.
The Northern Territory, Queensland, and Tasmania, like with many other foreign countries, continue to require passengers from ‘high risk’ areas to test negative through PCR test 72 hours before departure. However, a surge of Omicron cases has resulted in enormous lines and days-long processing times.
As a result of the testing pandemonium, aviation crew has been compelled to isolate, resulting in flights being canceled or delayed.
On Thursday, 80 Sydney-bound and -bound services had already been canceled.
“Unfortunately, like many people in Sydney and Melbourne, a large number of our frontline team are being required to test and isolate as close contacts given the increasing number of cases in the general community, and as a result, we have had to make some late adjustments to our schedule,” a Jetstar spokesman told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We appreciate the frustration this causes, especially as customers are travelling for Christmas, and sincerely apologise for the impact these changes are having on travel plans.
“We are working to minimise any delays and re-accommodating passengers on flights as close as possible to their original departure times across both Jetstar and Qantas services.”
While Virgin stated it was running hundreds of trips today with little to no disruption, it apologized to any passengers who were inconvenienced by the adjustments.
In NSW, 25,355 people have tested positive in the previous week, with 164,000 tests conducted on Thursday alone, according to 9 News, while Adelaide residents have reportedly waited more than nine hours for the process to be done.