Qantas and Virgin Australia Groups will operate a minimum domestic network servicing the most critical metropolitan and regional routes in Australia thanks to a significant investment from the Federal Government of up to an initial $165 million.
Underwriting the cost of the network, which includes all state and territory capital cities and major regional centres such as Albury, Alice Springs, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Kalgoorlie, Mildura, Port Lincoln, Rockhampton, Tamworth, Townsville and Wagga Wagga, comes in addition to the more than $1 billion of Federal Government support for Australia’s aviation industry in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said sustaining Australia’s aviation industry is critical to protecting livelihoods and saving lives and that’s why the Government has acted again today to provide further support.
“As Australians are asked to stay home unless absolutely necessary, we are ensuring secure and affordable access for passengers who need to travel, including our essential workers such as frontline medical personnel and defence personnel, as well as supporting the movement of essential freight such as critical medicine and personal protective equipment,” Mr McCormack said.
“We know that a strong domestic aviation network is critical to Australia’s success and today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment, yet again, to maintaining connectivity during this pandemic.
“This investment will also help Australians returning from overseas, who find themselves in a different city after 14 days of mandatory quarantine, complete their journey home safely.”
This announcement complements the actions the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government has already taken to underwrite international flights to help Australians get home, as well as flights to our regional and remote communities through the $198 million Regional Airlines Network Support program announced on 28 March and the $715 million package announced on 18 March.
These arrangements will last for an initial eight weeks with a review mechanism in place, where the Government will continue to monitor the market and determine if further action is required..
We continue to support every Australian to get to the other side of this pandemic with more than $320 billion of investment, including our $130 billion JobKeeper Payment to support workers and businesses.