eCOMM Merchant Solutions helps bring home 700 Irish people stranded in Australia

Quick action by two Irish companies enables hundreds to leave Australia amid COVID-19 crisis and return home

Published: 31/Mar/2020

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At 2.10pm on Thursday 26th March last, eCOMM Merchant Solutions was contacted by their customer Hannon Travel, who had an urgent request. Hannon Travel, working with Avalon aircraft leasing, were in touch with The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who were trying to repatriate 700 Irish Citizens stranded in Australia, with no commercial flights running to get them home due to the worsening Coronavirus pandemic.

Plane in sky with jet stream

Most of those stranded were very willing and able to pay for their own tickets, allowing the Department to focus on others who couldn't. What was needed, fast, was a means to allow the people in Australia to pay Hannon Travel for their flight, allowing Hannon Travel to work with Qatar Airlines in moving aircraft around to make it happen. With that number of people, they required 2 x Boeing 777 aircraft, one from flying from Sydney and the other from Melbourne. Each would make two round trips, landing into Dublin on Sunday and again on Monday.

Eimer Hannon, of Hannon Travel in Navan, picked up the phone to Noel Moran of eCOMM Merchant solutions – with an office just minutes away in Navan. Straight away eCOMM set to work, they set up a dedicated web page allowing payment to be made by the people in Australia, or their families back at home, or elsewhere. Work on programming the payment links, web page and testing were all done by 7pm. With the time difference, that was 6am in Australia, so Hannon Travel rostered staff to work around the clock to manage bookings and help with queries.

The web page proved a huge success, with eCOMM's speedy intervention, the team at Hannon Travel was able to book the flight. They were now expecting to welcome over 700 Irish nationals home between the following Sunday and Monday.

Speaking about how Hannon Travel and eCOMM had performed such a quick turnaround, a spokesperson in The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said "Thank you so much. It is unbelievable that we are being able to do this".