Forget Australia’s shuttered international borders; right now we can’t open up domestically. One take is this is a perfectly logical decision that will benefit us in the long run. Another take is that it is a political shambles, led by certain recalcitrant leaders, that just goes to show how hard creating travel corridors with other nations will be.
As Western Australia refuses to endanger its flatlining rate of confirmed cases and its status as the only Australian state not in a recession (as the ABC reports, it has opted not to join the rest of the country in opening state coronavirus borders by Christmas), Queensland’s state premiere is also playing hard ball on its border laws (anyone who comes from what Queensland considers to be a hotspot – i.e. the whole of NSW, ACT and Victoria – has to apply for an exemption to enter the state).
It’s not just private citizens being negatively affected: whatever your take on the wisdom of limiting interstate travel to the degree we are, the outcome is taking a serious toll on airlines.
Qantas’ full year results for the financial year 2020 show the airline is down 91 per cent on the financial year of 2019, and shows a statutory loss before tax of $2.7 billion and a $4 billion revenue impact from the COVID crisis in 2H20.
Much of this, clearly, is due to international travel restrictions. But safely opening domestic borders as soon as possible will help the airline recoup some of these losses moving forward – and is a key move that will aid Austrlia’s aviation industry, Qantas argues.
To that effect, Qantas has started surveying customers, encouraging them to share their thoughts and lend their support for safely restarting domestic travel as soon as safely possible.