Health and Travel Alert — Update on Commercial Air Options

Event:  Following its April 8-10 charter flights to the United States, the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby requests that U.S. citizens who are still in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, or Vanuatu—and who wish to return to the United States as soon as possible—respond to the questionnaire at the following link.

U.S. Embassy Port Moresby – Repatriation Interest Form

At this time, we do NOT anticipate additional U.S. government charter options, but information collected through the questionnaire will provide the Embassy with better information on the number of U.S. citizens in each country who still wish to return to the United States immediately but who have not yet been able to do so.

If you are currently in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, or Vanuatu but you do NOT intend to return to the United States at this time, please do NOT respond to the questionnaire.  You are, however, more than welcome to write to us at consularportmoresby@state.gov if you would like to provide more information about your status.

Update on Commercial Air Availability:

Solomon Islands and Vanuatu: As of May 11, 2020 international commercial air services to and from Solomon Islands and Vanuatu remain suspended.

Papua New Guinea:  As of May 11, 2020, Air Niugini continues to operate reduced passenger and cargo schedules between Port Moresby and Brisbane, Australia (five per week)—as well as Cairns, Australia (two per week), and Singapore (three per week, cargo only).  However, there are few commercial options available for onward international travel to the United States, as domestic travel within Australia, even to catch on onward international, is generally not allowed at this time.

U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States from Papua New Guinea are advised that the following travel and transit may be possible, with relevant approvals (see more information below).

  • Port Moresby to Brisbane, Australia on Air Niugini (Saturdays)
  • Three-night stay and quarantine in Brisbane, Australia (usually at a designated hotel)
  • Brisbane to Auckland, New Zealand on Air New Zealand (Tuesdays)
  • Auckland to Los Angeles on Air New Zealand (Tuesdays)

 

In addition to securing an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions (see below), U.S. citizens who wish to take advantage of this option to transit New Zealand will need to obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authorization.  Travelers must remain airside (in the secure area) and cannot enter New Zealand.  Transit times must be less than 24 hours.

 

In order to transit and/or overnight in Brisbane, U.S. citizens are advised they will need the following:

 

  • An approved exemption to Australia’s ban on transit and entry for non-Australian citizens and residents.  U.S. citizens may request an exemption at the following website: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/covid19-enquiry-form. 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.
  • An approved Australian visa or ETA if transit time is in excess of eight hours. Transit times of under eight hours do not normally require a visa.  U.S. citizens may find additional information at the following website: https://www.eta.homeaffairs.gov.au/ETAS3/etas
  • 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 and New Zealand federal and/or 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:

 

Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Phone number:            +675 308 2100

Email address: ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/usembassyportmoresby/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/usembassypom?lang=en

 

U.S. Consular Agency in Honiara, Solomon Islands

Phone number:            + 677 27429 or + 677 74 94731

Email address: us_consular@usconsular.com.sb and keithieusa@usconsular.com.sb

 

U.S. State Department – Consular Affairs
+1 888 407 4747 or +1 202 501 4444

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