Monday, 13 April 2020

Government in talks with Virgin Australia as it looks to keep two airlines flying after Coronavirus COVID-19

Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd and the Australian government are in negotiations regarding a future role for the budget carrier after the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Whilst it remains unclear how long the crisis will last,  it is being reported locally that an international flight embargo will last at least until the end of this year.  However, it is expected that interstate travel will be allowed in a few months as the number of new infections decreases. 

“We want a two-airline sector coming out of this,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said in an interview on Sky News. “We will continue to look at the situation.” The government has already pledged A$715 million / US$454 million to the aviation sector, which has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. 

Restrictions imposed by the government are said to be costing the tourism industry about A$4 billion in lost business from international visitors and around A$5 billion from domestic travellers each month, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing the Tourism and Transport Forum. Virgin Australia has asked the government for an A$1.4 billion loan to cope with the shutdown.

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