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A flight from Singapore was the first to touch down just before 5.30am, with a Qantas flight from Los Angeles in the US following half an hour after.
Fully-vaccinated travellers will no longer have to undergo any quarantine measures when arriving in New South Wales or Victoria from today.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has said getting Australians home would be the priority.
But the government aims to re-start Australia’s tourism industry before the end of the year as well.
Australia has had its borders essentially closed for the better part of two years – 590 days.
“I am ecstatic,” one Australian passenger from the US told 9News.
“This is like, my third flight that I have booked. I have been wanting to come home for a while now.”
Qantas passenger Kelly told Today it was good to be “back on Australian soil”.
“I just need to get back into Queensland now,” she said.
Queensland is holding to its goal of reaching a 90 per cent vaccination level before scrapping international arrivals.
The state is currently at the 63 per cent double-dose mark, with 90 per cent likely to remain unmet until at least January 2022.
The state’s domestic borders will re-open on December 17.
One Qantas worker told Today that the past 20 months had been “challenging”.
“The thing with Qantas staff is that we’re resilient,” she said.
The Board of Airline Representatives of Australia said about 1500 Australians would be returning home today on 20 flights into Sydney and Melbourne.
International travel for Australians is also back on the cards.
From today, the US, the UK and Thailand are open to Australians heading overseas.
Singapore will join the list next Monday, followed by Fiji from December 1.
Closer to home, today marks the removal of the travel barrier between Greater Sydney and regional NSW, while borders will also come down for fully-vaccinated travellers between NSW, Victoria, and the ACT.
The reopening is expected to bring a $1 billion boost to the NSW and Victorian economies, along with a mass return of jobs for airline workers
Qantas and Virgin have both recorded massive spikes bookings, not only for international travel but also domestic flights.
To qualify for quarantine-free entry to Australia, there are some conditions to be met.
Travellers must have had two doses of a vaccine approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration – AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna.
They must also have downloaded the COVID-19 international travel vaccination certificate, and have recorded a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their flight.