AUSTRALIA MULLS MORE AID FOR QANTAS
Australia’s treasurer said he’s considering measures to support firms like Qantas Airways Ltd. and others that are still struggling with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, once the government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy expires late next month, Michael Heath reported for Bloomberg News.
“We are looking at other measures that we can put in place post-JobKeeper to support a range of industries including the aviation sector,” Josh Frydenberg said in an interview with Sky News on Sunday.
The Australian carrier has received A$459 million ($354 million) under the wage support program. It says it has 7,500 people allocated to overseas flights who will still be grounded from the end of March, when the subsidy ends, through to the end of October, when the airline expects international borders will reopen.
“There’s no doubt that the aviation industry’s been hit and hit hard and Qantas having a 75% reduction in their revenue is testament to that,” Frydenberg said.
COVID-19 travel restrictions drove Qantas to an underlying pretax loss of A$1.03 billion in the six months ended December from a profit of A$771 million a year earlier.
Like airlines elsewhere in the world, Qantas’s attempts to fly even limited schedules have been repeatedly stymied by snap border closures within Australia and overseas.