The Coalition government has committed a further $183.65 million to help maintain Australia’s sovereign international aviation capability in readiness of international borders reopening.
COVID-19 is continuing to have a significant impact on the aviation industry, with border closures and health safety measures limiting international air travel for more than 18 months now.
The new funding package has been created to ensure airlines and airports are ready to respond to increased demand once border restrictions are eased.
It includes $119.65 million to extend the International Aviation Support program by five months to 31 March 2022, and $64 million for aviation security screening cost rebates for Australia’s major international airports from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.
The International Aviation Support program, due to expire on 31 October 2021, is helping Australia’s international passenger airlines maintain core international aviation jobs so they are ready to go when borders reopen.
The new International Airport Security Charges Rebate program will help airports meet the costs associated with mandated security requirements, such as passenger and baggage screening on international passenger flights.
The rebate program will operate in a similar way to the existing Domestic Airports Security Costs Support program.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the government was focused on ensuring the aviation industry can recover strongly on the other side of the pandemic.
“Australia’s aviation industry will play a vital role in our economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.
“As a driver of so many sectors of our economy, it is essential that the industry is ready to ramp up operations when international restrictions are eased.
“It’s also important that the sector continues operating now, to maintain the flow of exports and imports and bring Australians home from overseas.
“Rebates for major international airports will help ease the financial burden they are currently experiencing due to low passenger numbers, assisting them to manage the costs associated with international services until demand increases.
“With vaccination rates rising, we are getting closer to borders reopening. Our support for the aviation industry will ensure Australia reaps the economic benefits of international travel once restrictions are eased.”
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said the government had provided extensive support to the aviation sector throughout the pandemic.
“Our government is providing the necessary support to our aviation sector to ensure Australians can travel, with confidence, when the international border opens,” he said.
“Australia’s tourism industry is a vital part of our economy, and our airlines and airports will be essential as we welcome back international visitors to support the 600,000 jobs and businesses reliant on tourism.
The government has now provided more than $5.1 billion in assistance to the aviation sector since the pandemic began.
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