$165 million for regional air routes

Friday, 17 April 2020

Thanks to a significant investment from the Federal Government of up to an initial $165 million, Qantas and Virgin will operate a minimum domestic network servicing the most critical metropolitan and regional routes in Australia, with a heavy focus on Queensland routes, including:

• Charleville – Roma
• Cloncurry – Mount Isa
• Cloncurry – Townsville
• Emerald – Brisbane
• Gladstone – Brisbane
• Gold Coast – Sydney
• Horn Island – Cairns
• Longreach – Brisbane
• Mackay – Brisbane
• Mackay – Rockhampton
• Mackay – Townsville
• Moranbah – Brisbane
• Mt Isa – Brisbane
• Rockhampton – Brisbane
• Roma – Brisbane
• Townsville – Brisbane
• Townsville – Cairns
• Weipa – Cairns

We welcome Virgin’s announcement that previously stood-down workers will be back at work to support flights under the network announced today.

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.

We are determined to do everything possible to keep two airlines in the air, throughout this pandemic and on the other side of it.

Today’s announcement brings the support to aviation to a total of $1.28 billion offered by the Federal Government to the aviation industry, including:

• $715m package waiving fuel excise and Government charges backdated to 1 February 2020.‬
o $159 million cash back to the airlines in backdated charges
o 33 Applications received and 15 funding agreements in place including Virgin Australia. Payments have commenced
• ‪$198m to ensure the continued operation of essential flights into regional communities.‬‬‬‬‬‬
o 9 applications received and under active assessment. Revised guidelines issued yesterday to improve flexibility for multiple services on individual routes.
• ‪$100m to provide direct financial support to smaller regional airlines.‬‬‬‬
o 5 applications received – three funding agreements in place. Payments commenced yesterday
• $110m million for the International Freight Assistance Mechanism, which will help secure freight flights for high value agriculture and fisheries exports into key markets

The aviation assistance packages are designed to treat the sector fairly. We will not favour any individual airline.

The Government has committed to sector-wide support and is constant communication with airline executives and industry peak bodies.

Virgin have been able to access these support measures and we will continue to provide assistance on a sector-wide basis.

To help Australians get home as soon as possible, the Government has worked with Qantas and Virgin Australia to establish a network of four key international hubs – London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Auckland – for the next four weeks.

We continue to support every Australian to get to the other side of this pandemic with more than $320 billion of investment to support workers, businesses and the economy.

The aviation industry, including Virgin and their staff, can directly benefit from our $130 billion JobKeeper Payment.

We welcome states and territories exploring ways to assist their local aviation businesses, noting Virgin HQ is in Brisbane and encourage further conversations with the Queensland Government.

The Federal Government won’t be distracted by political gamesmanship – we will continue to focus on saving lives and saving livelihoods.