WA COVID scare: Qantas cancel flights to regional areas due to staff isolating

Kate PhillipsThe West Australian
VideoQantas cancels flights after FIFO COVID scare

Qantas has cancelled a number of regional flights this morning, with FIFO workers turning up to the airport — only to be told to go home.

The company says the cancellations are due to flight and ground crew being forced into isolation after WA’s latest COVID scare, leaving the company short staffed.

An Uber driver dropping FIFO workers to the airport this morning told 6PR the workers had no prior warning, and only found out their flights had been cancelled when they arrived.

Flights to Karratha, Newman, Port Hedland, Paraburdoo, Onslow, Kalgoorlie Boulder, Geraldton and Broome have been cancelled so far.

One Virgin flight to Gudai-Darri (Koodaideri) has also been cancelled, but it is not known whether it is due to the staff shortage.

Terminal 3 and 4 — both of which have been listed as possible exposure sites — were virtually deserted this morning.

Terminal 3 and 4 at the airport were virtually deserted this morning.
Camera IconTerminal 3 and 4 at the airport were virtually deserted this morning. Credit: Daryna Zadvirna

Qantas says it is working to bring in additional staff and crew and will work to get passengers impacted by the cancellations on another flight within 24-hours.

It comes after a fly-in, fly-out worker yesterday tested positive to the coronavirus, sparking fears he may have been infectious while in the community.

Premier Mark McGowan said the man in his 30s returned a "very weak" positive test result in recent days.

He is in isolation and has not displayed any symptoms, having previously tested positive to the virus in March last year after returning from overseas.

The man worked as a maintenance contractor at Fortescue Metal Group's Cloudbreak mine in the Pilbara between July 20 and July 27 and went on to attend venues in Fremantle, Scarborough and Subiaco.

He is believed to have contracted the virus at Perth Airport from a Queensland man who flew there on July 20 and was subsequently denied entry to WA. That man tested positive to the Alpha variant of the virus upon returning to Brisbane.

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