Australia is being urged to follow the lead of other countries after Austrian Airlines made a marathon trek to Sydney to rescue citizens.
Monday’s non-stop 18-hour flight from Vienna was the longest journey made by an airline in the stable of German giant Lufthansa Group.
The Boeing 777 will return to Vienna on Tuesday carrying more than 250 passengers to repatriate Austrian and other European Union citizens.
Lufthansa’s airlines have made more than 260 special flights since March 14, returning 50,000 people on overseas holidays.
Labor’s foreign affairs spokesman Penny Wong believes Australia’s national carrier and its rival could do the same.
“I again urge the Australian government to follow the lead of other countries in providing direct support to help bring stranded Australians home, including subsidised and assisted departures,” she said on Tuesday.
“Let’s engage Qantas and Virgin in this national effort.”
Qantas made three special flights to repatriate Australians stranded in China as global fears mounted over coronavirus.
It has not ruled out making more one-off journeys, but its regular international flights have been suspended.
Thousands of Australians stranded around the world with commercial services grinding to a halt.
Angela Kerrison-Smith and her husband are trapped in a Peruvian city about 17 hours from the capital Lima.
“We ended up being stranded because the Peruvian government announced the shut down with less than 18 hours’ notice and there was absolutely no way we could get ourselves to Lima,” she told Sky News.
Peru has shut down all domestic travel and imposed a curfew.
“There are no commercial flights whatsoever,” Ms Kerrison-Smith said.
Her children, 6 and 9, are being looked after by their grandparents in Tasmania.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has warned Australians overseas may have to wait out coronavirus if they’re unable to catch a commercial flight home.
Sydney Airport chief operating officer Hugh Wehby praised Austrian Airlines for getting people home in a challenging environment.
“This repatriation flight will make the world of difference to stranded travellers going through confusing and difficult times,” he said.