Framework to reopen AUS airports announced

The Australian Government has announced a reopening framework for Australia’s international airports, with quarantine arrangements to ease and passenger caps to be lifted from November.

Australian Airports Association (AAA) Chief Executive, James Goodwin, said airports would be ready to welcome back increasing numbers of Australians from overseas.

“This is a positive step in the right direction to allow more vaccinated Australians to return home and others to reconnect with family overseas and comes just in time for Christmas,” Mr Goodwin said.

“These changes provide a more effective and clearer pathway for Australians to have the confidence to leave and re-enter the country.

“Airports will be critical to ensuring the challenging logistics associated with resuming international travel will be successfully managed.

“It is important airports are involved in co-designing any new arrangements required as we begin this process and look forward to working closely with government agencies on these details.

Mr Goodwin said work is needed now on the next phase of the framework where airports can welcome back international tourists and other important cohorts such as business people, students and skilled workers.

“There needs to be a focus on bringing back international travellers to assist in returning our economy, particularly the tourism sector, back to its full strength,” Mr Goodwin said.

“We welcome the development of safe travel zones where quarantine will not be required with nations such as New Zealand and we look forward to having other highly-vaccinated nations included as part of these pilot programs.”

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has welcomed the announcement of the framework.

BAC CEO, Gert-Jan de Graaff, said, “This is the best news we’ve had in more than a year.

“We stand ready to work with Commonwealth agencies and the Queensland Government to facilitate the new arrangements and look forward to the day when we can welcome so many stranded Australians home through our terminals, and travel to see family and friends around the world again.”

Mr de Graaff said the framework, including seven-day home quarantine for returning vaccinated travellers, was a sensible and safe approach that would ease pressure on the hotel quarantine system, and provide a ray of hope for families, as well as thousands of businesses that rely on inbound visitation.

“I can’t wait to see our international terminal retailers opening their doors again after nearly two years,” Mr de Graaff said.

“They have suffered enormously through the pandemic. The reopening of borders will see thousands of people return to their jobs at Brisbane Airport and that is tremendously exciting.”

Perth Airport has implemented COVID-safe initiatives to reduce touchpoints and promote physical distancing and hand hygiene, ahead of travel returning to normal levels.

Perth Airport Chief Commercial Officer, Kate Holsgrove, said, “We have put the necessary measures in place to improve safety but that doesn’t mean our work is finished as we have looked to reduce contact points at our retail outlets and in our car parks.

“A new initiative is our partnership with Mr Yum who operate a world-class food & beverage QR code ordering system which will allow passengers to pre-order and pay for items on their device and then pick up at the terminal.

“The system will introduce a touchless ordering system, providing customers an enhanced experience through seamless online ordering. We see this being particularly powerful as a queue buster in the early morning peak period.”

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