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As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, both domestic and international aviation capacity into Australia has been severely impacted, with international capacity falling by more than 90 per cent year on year in the months of April, May and June 2020. Domestic capacity also decreased significantly, with similar levels of decline also down 90 per cent [1]. This follows greater than 30 per cent growth in international aviation capacity over the last five years[2]. At the end of 2019, there were approximately 59 international airlines and 1,929 international flights into Australia per week, which equates to 27 million seats.

Recognising that the health of the aviation environment is integral to the success of Australia’s tourism industry and to ensure the tourism industry bounces back from the COVID-19 crisis in a sustainable manner, Tourism Australia has drafted an aviation recovery strategy to incentivise carriers to re-establish aviation routes between Australia and key markets through commercial partnerships.

Tourism Australia will lead a ‘Team Australia’ approach with the involvement of airports, STOs, Austrade, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, and the Department of Home Affairs.

The path to recovery will involve key phases, including capturing existing international demand through destination marketing, building aviation capacity and growing air frequencies. The goal of the strategy is to restore key international routes to Australia as soon as possible. Domestic aviation routes that are critical to the tourism industry will be an immediate focus. Tourism Australia and its partners will target key routes and tourism destinations to ensure Australia has an extensive offering of tourism experiences for domestic and international visitors as soon as timing allows.

[1] OAG, 2020

[2] BITRE, 2020