Air travel will resume by year end: Canberra airport

ACT’s nine-week lockdown has set up plenty of travel plans – but Canberra airport staff say life will be on the rise again by the end of the year. And it’s not just a matter of thinking about the blue sky.

Current passenger volume may be at its lowest since August 2020, said Michael Thomson, chief aviation officer, but is confident that travel will increase dramatically as Christmas approaches.

“We know how quickly airlines will react to every reopening of borders,” he said.

“Before Lockdown 2.0, we were connected to more destinations and had more airline partners than ever before.”

ACT had direct flights to all capitals, including Darwin and Hobart, for the first time, and new routes to regional hubs like the Sunshine Coast, Cairns and Port Macquarie. In May, Chief Minister Andrew Barr traveled to New Zealand to negotiate direct trans-Tasman flights to Wellington and Auckland, which, at that time, are expected to begin in the spring.

“We have seen a large number of passengers to new destinations such as Hobart and Darwin, and we believe this will continue once the borders open,” said Mr Thomson. “Everyone is looking to make up for lost time and reward themselves with a trip or visiting friends and family. “

Canberra Airport has made the vaccination of all personnel mandatory for the restart of aviation at the national level. All second doses will be finished by Oct. 15, Thomson said.

“This date coincides with the ACT government’s 80% double-dose vaccination target – so that’s when we hope to see some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Mandatory vaccination was in line with that of many airport partners, Mr Thomson said. On Monday, Rex said all of its frontline staff, in contact with customers, would be fully vaccinated by November 1, making it the first Australian airline to do so; this included check-in staff, pilots and cabin crew.

The airport is also home to the government’s ACT Mass Vaccination Clinic, which is an integral part of its vaccination program. More than 51,000 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have been administered there since it opened on June 29.

Mr. Thomson encouraged the Canberrans to plan their next vacation now.

“Start planning and book with confidence,” said Mr. Thomson. “Our travel booking time has decreased significantly, but airlines offer flexibility in the event of restrictions or border closures, so people need to book with confidence.”

Canberra Airport preparations come as Australia’s major international airports prepare for the return of international travel, but Australian Airports Association chief executive James Goodwin has warned that it was “not as easy as to open the border “.

“There will be major complexities, but airports are ready to ensure that the operating environment, political parameters and logistics are correct so that overseas travel can continue to be safe and secure for all passengers and the personal, ”he said.

The Australian Aviation Ground Handlers Industry Alliance (AAGHIA) warns that planes could be left on the ground this Christmas, as thousands of essential aviation ground operations workers continue to be excluded from government support.

The nearly 10,000 specialist ground workers across the country believe they are being wronged over government assistance and fear hundreds of planes may still be grounded over Christmas.

AAGHIA President Glen Rutherford said ground staff were not receiving the $ 750 per week support program announced in August for airline and airport employees.

“All we ask is that our 9,800 specialist ground support agents receive the same treatment as the rest of the aviation industry,” said Mr. Rutherford.

“We are already seeing a large portion of our workforce pursuing other, more financially secure jobs to get food on the table for their families.”

Mr Rutherford warned that it would take at least six months to recruit workers at the reopening borders, train them and get them accredited by the government.

With PAA

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