“This next support package for Qantas and Virgin Australia will mean a basic schedule of domestic services can be restored for stranded domestic and international visitors and essential workers.
“This is a sensible measure that will help in mapping out a strategy to gradually exit domestic travel restrictions. Our airlines play a vital role in restoring business activities, not least for the domestic tourism sector,” Mr Gschwind said.
The Commonwealth will underwrite the cost of some flights to capital cities and various regional destinations across the country over the next eight-week period, in addition to the support already provided to ensure airlines can operate international routes to Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong and Auckland to assist in getting Australians back home.
Mr Gschwind continued, “There is no doubt that further attention must be paid to restoring a strong domestic aviation network with competing carriers. This is not about the future of any single company like Virgin Australia, much more is at stake.
“Domestic air services are an essential service for a country like Australia, communities in every region depend on it.
“A purely commercial solution is always preferable but considering the potential cost to the community from a non-competitive aviation market, the government must represent the interests of the community and consider all options.
“Without competitive air services in Australia we will face a very difficult recovery, not least for tourism destinations”.