The NSW Government and the higher education sector have partnered with FCM, a corporate travel business of the Flight Centre Travel Group, under their current travel management arrangement for the pilot plan that has successfully seen the phased return of fully vaccinated international students to NSW.
The proposal, which was greenlighted by the Commonwealth Government in late 2021, saw the first chartered flights bringing international students to NSW successfully arrive on 6 and 24 December 2021.
NSW Minister for Enterprise, Investment, and Trade, Stuart Ayres, highlighted the important role FCM played in the pilot International Student Arrivals Plan for NSW.
“It has been fantastic to welcome the first cohorts of international students back to NSW and we are delighted to have the support of FCM across this critical project. Their experience has been invaluable in navigating the many challenges of this highly complex initiative,” Ayres said.
FCM general manager, Melissa Elf, recognised the work her team had put in over the last 18 months and the passion they possess for the academic sector.
“18 months ago, this product and this service simply didn’t exist, and I have to commend the likes of Jamison Warren and Tim Hunt in my team for building something worthy of a partnership like this,” Elf said.
“The team looked at the problem we had and came up with an incredibly creative solution, spending literally thousands of hours with no guarantee of a successful outcome, and this partnership really is a testament to them – it is a genuine privilege for us to be making this announcement.
“International students in 2019 injected more than $14.6 billion into the Australian economy and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure the continued smooth process of welcoming international students back to our shores.”
The announcement of the pilot plan was also welcomed by the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee.
“18 months of careful planning with the Australian and NSW Governments came to fruition, and FCM were a key partner in that planning,” said Professor Barney Glover AO, Convener of the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee.
“We were pleased to welcome our students home in December as part of the government’s broader plan to reopen to the world, and this is largely to FCM’s credit for their tireless efforts on this unprecedented project.
“Our international students are valued members of our community and significantly contribute to economic recovery in NSW.”