Fears Australian airline routes could be cut if government support dries up next week

Press/Media: Expert Comment


'Greg Bamber from Monash University, an expert in management and industrial relations in the aviation industry, said the Federal Government needed to stump up. "It's essential that the Government does support the industry in Australia, otherwise it will collapse in the current circumstances," he said. "We need to have a decent airline industry once we come out the other side of this crisis." The aviation expert said it could be up to three years before demand for air travel returned to pre-pandemic levels. "The industry in Australia should recover more quickly than the international industry," Professor Bamber said. "Much of that is going to depend on when we see a vaccine. "There is pent-up demand for people to catch up with their friends and family and have business meetings." Flights to some areas — including tourist destinations and remote communities — have nearly dried up completely. In April, there were about 5 per cent of the normal number of flights from Lord Howe Island, less than 4 per cent from Port Macquarie, and less than 2 per cent from Ballina-Byron Bay. "The airlines won't be flying unless they're supported to fly, unless passengers are buying tickets," Professor Bamber said. "That's essential for the tourism industry." But passengers can’t buy tickets to flights that don’t exist!' Source of the extracts above: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-05/government-qantas-virgin-in-talks-about-public-funding/12322790

The ABC published an article including the extracts above to follow up from the shorter clip that was included in the ABC TV News on 4 Jun 2020: 'Qantas has announced the first expansion of flights since the pandemic hit, with more staff returning to work. Australian airlines have been relying on taxpayer money to keep flying. Sydney Airport's work is continuing, with Airfield Operation Supervisor Nigel Coghlan saying it's business as usual for them. The route between Sydney and Melbourne normally has 160 flights a day before the pandemic but that plunged to just 12 flights a day in April. Sydney Airport has gone from nearly 440 flights a day to 50. Qantas is now increasing flights between Sydney and Melbourne by 15% by the end of June. Both Virgin Australia and Qantas are talking to the Government about extending taxpayer funds. Federal Transport Minister Michael McCormack says they're reviewing things with the airline sector. Interviewees: Nigel Coghlan, airfield operations supervisor • Prof Greg Bamber, Monash University.'

Incidentally, when the ABC TV reporter asked if the Federal Government should support airlines during the pandemic, I replied that Government support is essential for airlines and for universities. It was the Government that closed borders and stopped people travelling. This has devastating implications for universities as well as airlines. Neither airlines nor universities closed the borders, nor caused the pandemic. It is in the national interest that, after the pandemic has passed, Australia still has thriving airlines and universities. However, the ABC did not publish my remarks about universities, I regret, perhaps because its item focussed on aviation, rather than education!

Period5 Jun 2020

Media contributions


Media contributions


  • airlines
  • government support
  • aviation
  • Qantas
  • Virgin Australia
  • COVID-19