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Media Update Ocean Atlantic

MEDIA RELEASE

Second Charter flight, arranged by Chimu Adventures, brings stranded Australians and Kiwis home from South America.

Sydney 3rd April 2020, Chimu Adventures is pleased to announce that on 1st April 2020 at 17:45 Uruguay time, LATAM aircraft chartered by Chimu Adventures departed Montevideo bound for Sydney carrying 136 Australians and 8 New Zealanders.  It arrived early on the 3rd of April 2020. New Zealand Nationals transited directly to Auckland.  This is the second flight Chimu Adventures have recently charted to help Australian travellers stuck in South America return to Australia during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The first flight returned from Peru and arrived in Sydney on March 31 2020.  

The situation for all travellers in South America became problematic after many countries suddenly closed borders and enforced rapid lockdown laws in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This interrupted and even halted many pre-booked travel plans including, options for international travellers trying to return home.

These responsive border situations also caused issues for Chimu Adventures’ charter cruise on the MV Ocean Atlantic.  This ship was returning from Antarctica and due disembark passengers in Puerto Madryn, in Argentina, on the 21st of March 2020.   New restrictions meant that port authorities in Puerto Madryn would not allow passengers to disembark there.

“We quite literally found ourselves in unchartered waters, in this unprecedented time, as we entered a long process of navigating multiple governments and restrictions in a bid to get our travellers home. Multiple ports in Argentina would not allow us to disembark and commercial flight options for Australian travellers to return to Australia rapidly vanished. In the end, our only option was dock in Montevideo and try to charter a plane to get Australians home from Uruguay. Our travellers were all given a clean bill of health by medical professionals, so this soon became a viable, albeit onerous option.” Said Greg Carter, Co-founder of Chimu Adventures.

Chartering a commercial aircraft to transit international borders, when you are not an airline, is not easy at the best of times. Let alone during a Pandemic.  

“Working with wildly fluctuating currency dollar rates, ever-changing travel and border restrictions, lawyers, insurance companies, governments, airport and port authorities, made piecing the jigsaw together incredibly difficult. As we processed and thought we had everything in place, another obstacle would arise which saw our goal posts shift frequently. We are so relieved, after working around the clock for two weeks, that the flight is finally underway.”  Said Carter.

In the end, Chimu was supported by many entities critical in ensuring the success of the operation.

“We are incredibly grateful for all the assistance we have received during this operation including from the friends and families of our travellers, the travellers themselves, Brett Hackett the Australian Ambassador to Argentina and his diplomatic staff, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, LATAM airlines plus the Uruguayan Government and port officials.” Said Chad Carey, Co-Founder of Chimu Adventures.

“This all began as an operation to bring Chimu travellers home, as their safety is our priority, it then extended to help other Australians in a similar predicament. We are incredibly pleased that across both flights and through various other means since the crisis hit, we have been able to bring home 392 Chimu Adventure travellers as well as many other Australians who originally booked their travel arrangements elsewhere. We are glad that QANTAS is now following suit and we are willing and able to further assist, via our own operations network on the ground in South America, should that be required by QANTAS, other operators, or the Australian Government.”  Said Carey.

Ends

Visit https://www.chimuadventures.com/en-au/flightsmedia for media update on the recent Peru charter.

For images click here

For media enquiries and interviews, please contact:  

Meg Hall PR and Marketing Manager

E: newsandevents@chimuadventures.com  

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