Health and Travel Alert – U.S. Embassy Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea – Update on Commercial Air Options to Return to the United States
Location: Papua New Guinea
Event: On April 15, the U.S. Embassy published via STEP an alert to U.S. citizens about a limited window of availability for commercial air routes to return to the United States on Air Niugini from Port Moresby to Brisbane and Virgin Australia or Qantas from Brisbane to Los Angeles.
As a result of schedule changes by Air Niugini, those commercial air routes may still be possible but now require an overnight stay in Brisbane on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, respectively, in order to connect with the Virgin Australia flights on Wednesdays until May 6 or the Qantas flights on Thursdays until April 30.
U.S. citizens are advised that the Virgin Australia and Qantas flights are only available for a limited time until those dates.
As of April 20:
- Air Niugini flights to Brisbane depart Port Moresby on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and on Wednesdays at 9:15 a.m. (Additional flights to Brisbane are available on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.)
- Virgin Australia flights to Los Angeles depart Brisbane at 11:05 a.m. on April 22 and 29 and on May 6 only.
- Qantas flights to Los Angeles depart Brisbane at 10:00 a.m. on April 23 and 30 only.
- Additionally, Air New Zealand flights from Brisbane to Auckland, from which additional transit arrangements to the United States may be available, depart at 9:35 a.m. on Sundays and at 12:15 p.m. on Mondays.
The above schedules may change at any time with little or no notice, and we continue to advise U.S. citizens to work directly with the airlines and/or a travel agent for the most up to date information.
In order to transit Australia and overnight in Brisbane, U.S. citizens are advised they will need the following:
- Required—an approved exemption to Australia’s ban on transit and entry for non-Australian citizens and residents. S. citizens may request an exemption at the following website: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/covid19-enquiry-form. U.S. citizens are advised to include in their request detailed information about their confirmed itinerary and any approval received from the relevant Australian state government (see below). U.S. citizens should provide as much information as possible to explain their situation and why they are unable to complete the transit in fewer than eight hours.
- Required—an approved Australian visa or ETA to allow for a transit time in excess of eight hours. Transit times of under eight hours do not normally require a visa. S. citizens may find additional information at the following website: https://www.eta.homeaffairs.gov.au/ETAS3/etas
- Strongly recommended, if possible—an approval from the relevant Australian state government to exit the airport and complete quarantine at a state-designated facility for the duration of the time in transit. S. citizens may find additional information on obtaining a Queensland Entry/Travel Pass at the following website: https://www.qld.gov.au/border-pass. When applying for the Entry/Travel Pass, U.S. citizens are advised to select the “compassionate grounds” exemption and provide the address of your intended hotel in Brisbane, recognizing that state health officials may direct the traveler to another site.
The Embassy has no authority to facilitate exemptions to Australia’s or New Zealand’s border and immigration policies and assumes no liability for delays or disruptions in travel.
U.S. citizens are advised that the above routing options may require multiple itineraries with different airlines that may or may not have inter-airline agreements. The routes and transit options may be suspended at any time with little or no notice and are subject to various Australian federal and state requirements. U.S. citizens may find that the online forms do not take into account their specific situation, but should make an attempt to obtain approvals as required and with the best information available at the time.
U.S. citizens who need to undertake domestic air or ground transportation otherwise restricted under PNG’s State of Emergency (SOE), may apply for an exemption from the SOE Controller by accessing the “Travel Pass” link at the Department of Communication and Information Technology’s website: https://covid19.info.gov.pg/.
Approval of travel passes are being decided based on strict criteria, which include emergency transport, essential services, and travel for the purpose of returning to one’s habitual place of residence.
Actions to Take:
- Consult directly with the airlines and/or a travel agent to try to find commercial options to the United States.
- If your itinerary transits Australia, obtain an exemption from the Australian Border Force in advance of your travel based on a confirmed reservation.
- If your itinerary requires a transit time in Australia of more than eight hours, obtain an Australian visa or ETA: https://www.eta.homeaffairs.gov.au/ETAS3/etas.
- If your itinerary requires a transit time in Queensland of more than eight hours, obtain a Queensland Entry/Travel Pass to allow you to exit the Brisbane airport and complete requisite quarantine at a state-designated facility (usually a hotel).
- If your itinerary transits New Zealand, obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authorization.
- If your travel requires domestic air or ground transportation otherwise restricted under PNG’s State of Emergency, obtain a Travel Pass online.
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
- For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
- Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s websiteon the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
Phone number: +675 308 2100
Email address: ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov
U.S. Consular Agency in Honiara, Solomon Islands
Phone number: + 677 27429 or + 677 74 94731
U.S. State Department – Consular Affairs
+1 888 407 4747 or +1 202 501 4444
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