Airlines get $715 million bailout to keep them flying

“Our airlines run on tight budgets at the best of times and these past few weeks have been particularly tough. I’ve been speaking with Australian airline executives every day and will continue to work with them to make sure they receive the support they need,” Mr McCormack said.

“Providing this assistance not only helps our airlines but also the entire aviation industry, regional Australians in particular and other industries such as tourism and trade, which depend on aviation.

He said the federal government would continue to work closely with the aviation industry as it faces the ongoing challenges associated with COVID-19.

Qantas announced on Tuesday it was slashing international capacity by 90 per cent from the end of March until at least the end of May, a steep increase on the 23 per cent capacity cuts announced last week.

Domestic capacity cuts will increase to 60 per cent over the same period, a major jump on the 5 per cent reduction last week.

The cancellations reflect “a rapid decline in forward travel demand due to government containment measures, corporate travel bans and a general pullback from everyday activities across the community”, Qantas said in a statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, investors dumped Virgin Australia’s shares and bonds as aviation experts warned many international airlines would be technically bankrupt by the end of May.


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