Australians may be faced with a sparse set of options for overseas travel when our blanket travel ban lifts if airlines are not given enough notice, airline organisations have warned.
This could lead to high ticket prices until the market sorts itself out.
Though to some degree this is out of the government’s control, with the exact day we hit the 80% fully vaccinated target not yet being known, and with the pandemic making for an evolving situation, many travel industry professionals and figures are calling for authorities to provide a more detailed plan regardless.
Travel Daily Media recently published an article, which claimed that Australian officials are sitting on the fence too much and need to give carriers more certainty if we want to avoid a slow restart once borders open again.
“Unfortunately, Australia has a government that is unable to take well thought and planned decisions that would make the country move on and give a little breath to the ailing aviation and travel industry which could start planning a new start” Travel Daily Media reported.
“It seems that our government officials like to sit on the fence when it comes to making this sort of decision” (Travel Daily Media).
This comes after the Australian Airports Association warned: “If the federal government does not provide clarity on the reopening of international borders, international airlines will be forced to leave the Australian market.”
Singapore Airlines, for instance, has already been forced to cancel dozens of flights to Australia before the Christmas period, citing a lack of certainty over passenger caps as the reason.
The Guardian likewise reports, “foreign airlines won’t be able to ramp up operations to meet the mass reopening of international travel into Sydney when 80% vaccination is reached because they will need several months to recall laid off staff and retrieve planes that have been parked in deserts.”
In an article published on September the 12th, Barry Abrams, the executive director of the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia, told The Guardian that airlines still had not been told what the new rules and passenger limits would be when Australia hit 80% fully vaccinated.
He said this meant they were unable to start planning for resuming routes.
“Passenger allowances were a key factor for airlines in determining the financial viability of their routes, and Abrams warned that carriers that had not flown to the country in more than a year had not yet begun allocating aircraft or staff to Australian routes, nor had they begun renegotiating contracts with ground handling crews and local supply businesses,” The Guardian reports.
This warning has been reported on by The Sydney Morning Herald too. They reported: “The country’s airports have warned the federal government that foreign airlines are at risk of pulling out of Australia even as the country reopens its international border, leading to fewer seats and higher prices, unless clearer plans are locked in immediately.”
Australia’s Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has also warned that high demand for travel when the blanket travel ban ends could lead to a backlog of Australians needing to renew their passports before they can travel internationally.
Put simply: we all need a more detailed plan, both airlines and citizens alike.