Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has cautiously welcomed the Federal Government’s support package for regional airlines.
Ms Claydon said she had written to the Deputy Prime Minister, and had met with him personally, to stress the urgent need to deliver support into the Hunter-based regional airline FlyPelican.
“Regretfully, the coronavirus crisis has seen passenger numbers and bookings across the aviation industry plummet by as much 90 per cent, leaving formerly vibrant and profitable businesses including FlyPelican hanging by a thread,” Ms Claydon said.
“While we still need to see the details of what this package will mean for individual operators, it seems to be a very positive development.”
Ms Claydon reiterated the importance of local airlines to regional economies.
“Airlines aren’t like other businesses. They play a key role in connecting families, friends and communities, while also promoting trade and supporting essential services. Importantly, they help drive economic growth across our vast nation,” Ms Claydon said.
“I have every confidence that, with the right support, FlyPelican will be in a strong position to resume services quickly and help drive the regional economic recovery that will be so desperately needed when the COVID-19 crisis has passed.”
Ms Claydon said while the support package for companies was welcome, workers still need urgent assistance.
“There was nothing in the regional airline package to ensure that workers are retained.
“The Government must deliver wage subsidies to ensure workers remain connected to their employer and airlines can ramp up their operations quickly when the crisis recedes.”