As states start to meet vaccination targets and outline COVID-19 roadmaps, the aviation industry will begin readying for international travel in anticipation of borders reopening.
The Federal Government has invested a further $183.65 million for aviation security screening cost rebates and to extend the International Aviation Support program until 31 March 2022.
The program was initially scheduled to end on 31 October 2021, but will remain open to help international passenger airlines maintain core international aviation jobs.
The new International Airport Security Charges Rebate program will help airports meet the costs associated with mandated security requirements, such as passenger and baggage screening on international flights. It will operate in a similar way to the existing Domestic Airports Security Costs Support Program.
Australian Airports Association (AAA) Chief Executive, James Goodwin, said the program will enable airports to support the government’s reopening strategy.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, international airports have stayed open to assist the government in repatriating Australians from overseas, to land critical freight including COVID vaccines and to ensure Australia’s important trade could continue,” Mr Goodwin said.
“Australia’s airports will perform a vital role in assisting government to facilitate any new protocols and procedures as international travel resumes. We know restarting international aviation is not as simple as just opening the border.
“There will be major complexities involved but airports stand ready to ensure the operational environment, policy settings and logistics are right so overseas travel can continue to be safe and secure for all passengers and staff.”
The International Airport Security Charges Rebate will help to cover the costs associated with government-mandated passenger and baggage screening requirements that must be met regardless of how many aircraft land and the number of passengers on board.
“This new federal funding initiative will go a long way in helping to manage these costs to ensure airports can be sustainable now and into the future,” Mr Goodwin said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said the government was focused on ensuring the aviation industry can recover strongly on the other side of the pandemic.
“Australia’s aviation industry will play a vital role in our economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis,” Mr Joyce said.
“As a driver of so many sectors of our economy, it is essential that the industry is ready to ramp up operations when international restrictions are eased. It’s also important that the sector continues operating now, to maintain the flow of exports and imports and bring Australians home from overseas.
“Rebates for major international airports will help ease the financial burden they are currently experiencing due to low passenger numbers, assisting them to manage the costs associated with international services until demand increases.
“With vaccination rates rising we are getting closer to borders reopening. Our support for the aviation industry will ensure Australia reaps the economic benefits of international travel once restrictions are eased.”