Fatigue from Australia’s lockdowns rewarded with cheap flights

By Melissa Coade

Wednesday December 1, 2021

Dan Tehan standing outside
The support package for the aviation sector will continue to February. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

The federal government has promised that half-price plane tickets will continue over the summer season, announcing on Tuesday that it would extend a support package for the aviation sector until next February.

In a joint statement, trade, tourism and investment minister Dan Tehan and minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development Barnaby Joyce said they wanted Australians to benefit from cheap travel as they regained ‘the freedoms they know and love’.

“Half-price airfares give Australians even greater incentive to take to the skies and enjoy a well-earned break these holidays,” Joyce said. 

“This will continue to boost our aviation and tourism sectors, protect the jobs and livelihoods these industries support and help restart our economy on the other side of the pandemic.”

The tourism aviation network support initiative will be extended to 28 February 2022 in a bid to boost domestic travel to key tourism regions over Australia’s summer holidays. 

It was launched in March this year, offering 800,000 half-priced plane tickets to 15 identified tourism regions.

“In line with the national plan, the government expects states and territories to reduce barriers to travel as vaccination rates increase, paving the way for more Australians to travel domestically,” Joyce said.

Tehan said the funding package aimed to encourage Australians to support local jobs and businesses in the tourism sector. The summer holidays were the perfect time of the year to target, especially given the high national vaccination rates, he added.

“The best thing we can do for the tourism sector is get tourists back travelling, spending money and enjoying all the amazing holiday destinations Australia has to offer,” he said.

According to the ministers, border closures and health measures introduced to respond to the pandemic have had a significant impact on the aviation industry over the last 18 months. 

The Mandarin previously reported on a suite of federal measures worth $183.65 million, including a new rebate for international airports, to help cushion the aviation industry from the economic impact of COVID-19. The government has provided more than $5.3 billion to assist the industry since the start of the pandemic.


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