Aviation

Federal government extends airline support measures

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

In welcome news for Australia’s aviation industry, the federal government’s support programs have been extended.

Both the Domestic Aviation Network Support (DANS) and Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) programs will be extended to 31 January 2021 and 28 March 2021, respectively.

The DANS program, which has helped Qantas and Virgin maintain some of its busiest Australian routes, was expected to end on Wednesday.

While the RANS program, which was set to end in December this year, has reportedly been handed to around a dozen regional operators, including Regional Express.

More than $150 million has been invested by the federal government across these two programs thus far, with the extension of the programs coming as part of the Commonwealth’s 2020-21 Budget.

“Planes in the air mean jobs on the ground, and as part of our economic plan for a more secure and resilient Australia, we will continue to back our aviation sector,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.

In an attempt to further pressure states to open up, McCormack called on state premiers and territory chief ministers to consider easing their border restrictions.

“Uncertainty affects the ability of airlines and airports to plan for recovery and undermines consumer confidence, which amounts to a significant cost to industry and ultimately the Australian economy,” he said.

“The federal government is doing our bit by underwriting these flights to maintain minimum connectivity. Now, we need the states and territories to do their bit too as we again encourage the continued easing of border restrictions.”

Australia’s Deputy PM also said he was hopeful the extension of government support would see regional airlines offer more flights to towns that are desperate for visitors.

“We know regional tourism will help drive Australia’s economic recovery, and today’s announcement of further support for key routes will be a big boost to local economies,” McCormack said.

According to ABC News, the total cost of the extension to the aviation support programs is dependent on several factors, including state border closures and COVID-19 restrictions. However, the government expects it will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

However, the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has argued that any new funding for Qantas through the DANS program should be provided on the condition that the airline drop its plans to outsource 2,500 ground workers.

The TWU also argues that funds from the federal government should only be provided to Qantas once the airline has repaid its workers for public holidays, weekends, overtime work and allowances, after the Fair Work Commission agreed that Qantas’ management had been gaming the JobKeeper scheme.

Commenting on the announcement of an extension of federal support for domestic aviation, Airlines for Australia & New Zealand (A4ANZ) chairman Professor Graeme Samuel AC said: “We appreciate the government’s support for, and recognition of, the vital role that airlines play in supporting Australia.

“These programs allow for the continuation of flights that create critical connections for people in all parts of Australia,” he said.

A4ANZ chief executive Dr Alison Roberts said: “We thank the government for its commitment to Australia’s aviation industry and we welcome the Deputy Prime Minister’s comments today that these extensions form a key part of the government’s continued support for the industry as part of the 2020-21 Budget.

“Australia’s airlines, large and small, will struggle to shoulder the costs associated with fully restarting their network operations. The industry would be significantly assisted in recovery planning and preservation of capacity if the Budget were to bring certainty on other forms of support that will likely be needed until at least 30 June 2021.”

[Note: This article has been updated since publishing to include comments from the Transport Workers’ Union and Airlines for Australia & New Zealand]


Featured image source: iStock/pixdeluxe



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Qantas proposes scrapping bonuses if it is “harmed”

Qantas has copped some bad press lately, but the silver lining is it’s a great excuse for Alan Joyce to get a nice makeover!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Boeing 737 MAX mid-air emergencies revealed in new investigation

Surprisingly the investigation came from the ABC and not from Air Crash Investigation, which kind of puts the show to shame a bit.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Western travel agents banned from booking Hajj pilgrimage

Those looking to complete Hajj will have to enter the Hajj lottery, which you are still astronomically more likely to win than the actual lottery.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Virtuoso uncovers key differences in how each generation travels

Meanwhile, Travel Weekly staff are conducting our own research to tap into the zoomer market by teaching the office dog TikTok dances. It’s not going well.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Royal Caribbean Group completes its comeback with all ships back at sea

To honour the milestone, all 63 ships in the group’s fleet sounded their horns at once, which most likely scared the sh*t out of nearby fishing boats and unsuspecting wales across the world.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Virgin teams up with Flight Centre for money-can’t-buy workshop

It’s the second time a Flight Centre partnership has come up this week and it’s only Tuesday! Skroo must be feeling extra convivial this week.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“It’s more like a bribe”: Unions slam Qantas’ $5,000 ‘thank you’ payment

Speaking of bribes, if anyone would like to bribe us with an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan we promise to give you a good review on TripAdvisor.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Solomon Islands to reduce mandatory quarantine

Good news for those looking to travel across the Pacific Islands! Not so good news for those who enjoy being confined to a hotel room for days on end.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Oakwood solidifies Aussie presence with full opening of Melbourne luxury property

Looking to treat yourself? Don’t get a chocolate at the shops, book yourself a stay at the new Oakwood property in Melbourne (or do both)!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Flight Centre signs landmark agreement with Rex as pilots prepare for industrial action

While seemingly struggling to win popularity among its pilots, the regional carrier has turned to its agency partners for reassurance.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Princess reveals The Real Love Boat crew, celebrates ‘Top Gun Agents’

Say a prayer for the poor souls tasked with wrangling a ship full of reality dating contestants hell-bent on getting frisky at sea.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

How your clients can skip the rebound chaos with South America

Got clients keen to travel but hoping to avoid inflated prices and hoards of European Summer revellers? We’ve got the answer for you.

Share

CommentComments