Qantas yesterday launched a fresh petition designed to place pressure on Australia’s state governments to reopen borders where it’s safe to do so.
The petition, hosted on the Qantas website, calls on governments to “safely open our borders”. Qantas is encouraging its employees and customers to sign it.
Here’s what the Qantas state border petition says:
The health response to this crisis is our most important priority.
That’s why we’re calling for decisions on domestic border closures to be risk-assessed against an agreed set of medical criteria and a shared definition of what constitutes a COVID hotspot.
There is huge pent up demand for domestic travel with Australians wanting to get away on holiday after being stuck at home. We want to see Australians reunite with loved ones after months of being separated. And we want to see local businesses, and the one million people in the tourism industry, get back to work.
Queensland and South Australia are currently restricting interstate arrivals from Victoria, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory. There have been no COVID-19 cases in the ACT for more than two months. Meanwhile, Western Australia and Tasmania are currently restricting arrivals from all other Australian states and territories – even where the risk is very low.
Qantas also sent a letter to federal and state MPs in Queensland earlier this week to lobby for a relaxation of “arbitrary border restrictions” which the airline says are “having a profound economic and social cost to communities, businesses, supply chains and jobs in Queensland”.
Joyce is not calling for all borders to reopen immediately. In some cases, border closures make sense as they are genuinely necessary to protect public health. In fact, Joyce has supported the country’s closure of international borders which he says “protected Australia”.
But Joyce believes there needs to be a clear and consistent national framework on domestic borders which is based on medical risk assessments, and not politically motivated.
“Nobody’s had an issue with the borders to Victoria being closed,” Joyce said, “but it’s very clear that we don’t have clear guidelines for when the borders will open, when they will close.”
Some Australian Frequent Flyer members have supported and signed the petition…
Done and shared with 1500 people
Others are a bit more skeptical…
If they are so concerned about reuniting families, and sustaining jobs… why didn’t they consider the emotional strain of refusing refunds, or delaying payment of refunds? Or sacking staff at the height of the pandemic?
One Queensland Labor MP, Michael Healy, has publicly rejected Qantas’ lobbying for Queensland’s state border to reopen. Healy told the Australian Financial Review that Qantas was “pushing for a relaxation of the border restrictions because it would suit them and their business”.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas petition to open state borders
Qantas to launch Brisbane-Port Macquarie flights when border reopens
Qantas also announced yesterday that it will launch a new route from Brisbane to Port Macquarie, filling a gap in the market left by Virgin Australia’s exit from the route. QantasLink will operate the service using Bombardier Q400 aircraft.
Qantas will also seek to “backfill” capacity on other regional routes recently vacated by Virgin Australia. Virgin Australia revealed on Wednesday that it will cut services to 9 regional destinations including Port Macquarie, Mildura, Albury, Tamworth, Hervey Bay, Cloncurry and Uluru.
But Qantas says the new route is contingent on the opening of state borders. The airline won’t reveal its Port Macquarie-Brisbane schedule or start selling tickets until the Queensland government announces a date for reopening the state’s border.
“We expect the new flights to Port Macquarie will be popular with Queensland travellers looking to visit the beautiful coastal town so we hope an easing of travel restrictions will make this possible,” QantasLink CEO John Gissing said.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas to boost regional flights with new Brisbane-Port Macquarie service