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COVID-19: Qantas scores nearly AU$1.5 billion in government support

COVID-19: Qantas scores nearly AU$1.5 billion in government support

All airlines have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many governments have stepped in to save airlines, or to make sure they continue servicing remote communities, or continue freight and passenger services on routes that are no longer economic.

The Australian government has been no exception, offering support through its International Aviation Support (IAS) scheme as well as additional subsidies for domestic and regional flights. It has cut or suspended various aviation fees and provided direct support to displaced employees in the industry via the national JobKeeper scheme.

Sometimes it has been difficult to unpick who is getting how much and what support. But we have been given a picture of some of what Qantas has and will receive, thanks to senate enquiries, company reports, and the investigative skills of Lucas Baird over at the AFR.

a counter with food items on it

They got how much?

Qantas has received a lot, and I mean a huge amount of support from the Australian Government, meaning us and lenders to our government.

Under IAS – remember that’s just for international support, Qantas is shaping to get ~AU$174 million. Add that to that half-price airfare scheme to encourage domestic flying, they will get an additional ~AU$145 million. You need to add that JobKeeper payments(~AU$726 m), fee waivers (~AU$102 m), flight subsidies and repatriation services (~AU$276 m) and freight assistance (~AU$110 m).

That all adds up to a figure scarily above AU$1.5 billion – yep that starts with a ‘B’.

If my maths is correct (I failed matriculation maths), that is ~AU$60 for every Australian man, women and child.

And remember that’s just Qantas. The figure doesn’t include what has gone/will go to Virgin and REX to keep them both flying.

a plane parked at an airport

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

If that’s what it took to keep Australian airlines in the sky, then okey-dokey.

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