Australian airports in favour of reopening plans

Australia’s airport sector has said the National Cabinet’s plans to reopen Australia, with a four phase approach, is a crucial step forward for the country. 

The four phases are: Phase 1, vaccinate prepare and pilot, Phase 2, post vaccination – larger international arrival cap for fully vaccinated people, Phase 3, consolidation – COVID to be treated like the flu with annual booster shots and Phase 4, the final stage that will see the country returned to near normalcy. 

Australian Airports Association (AAA) Chief Executive, James Goodwin, said the new roadmap is exactly what airports have been asking for.

“Australia needs to get back to normal. We can’t stay closed to the world forever,” Mr Goodwin said.

“Having the Commonwealth, states and territories agree to work together to lead the nation out of the pandemic will give Australians hope and provide them with more confidence to start travelling domestically, without the fear of being locked down or locked out.

“Until now, there has been no clear reward or incentive for Australians who get vaccinated to be able to travel confidentially.”

Mr Goodwin said the four-phase plan gives airports time to prepare for the eventual reopening of the international border and urges the government to consult with the sector every step of the way, so it can be ready to facilitate the plan.

“Airports remain at the frontline of helping to manage the pandemic, keeping the economy strong and connecting families,” Mr Goodwin said. 

“It was encouraging to see the Prime Minister recognise the vital role aviation plays in bringing medicines, vaccines and other essential supplies into the country.

“While we’re appreciative of the extension of the international freight subsidy scheme, we would encourage all levels of government to increase the caps as soon as possible, taking note of local conditions and risk reduction.”

Mr Goodwin said, “Whilst it’s absolutely necessary for Australia’s older population to be prioritised in the vaccine rollout, it could be said that when we have adequate supply, it’s just as important for younger people to be vaccinated given they’re more likely to be travelling, flying and working and visiting busy venues such as airports, pubs and clubs.

“While the concept of the plan is a good one, we’d like to see the vaccination targets and timeframes for the different phases made public as soon as possible.”

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