If the world didn’t like Drama, ‘Love is Blind’ wouldn’t be a breakout, global sensation. It is, and Australia is dishing up its own reality series, in the bitter battle between Qantas and Virgin Australia. In the latest episode, secret deals were brokered, or not, and each flying firm got their say. And, some money to keep flying.
Essential Flight Network
The Government of Australia will guarantee and subsidize domestic flight networks for both Qantas and Virgin Australia to keep essential travel moving, according to information obtained by David Flynn at Executive Traveller.
Many vital health workers and professionals have been unable to fulfill essential duties in hard hit areas, with little, to zero flight service between cities.
To maintain a flow of goods and essential personnel, the government will guarantee a set number of flight routes will be maintained through June, at a “break even” cost level, effectively subsidizing both airlines.
That’s precisely where the drama begins.
Executive Traveller notes that Qantas sent a letter to staff stating it was solely directed by the Prime Minister to operate this skeleton of essential flights, with no mention at all of Virgin Australia being a part of things.
At that time, Paul Scurrah, CEO of Virgin Australia is said to have picked up the phone and spoken to the Deputy PM, who insisted that no such sweetheart deal for Qantas was in place. In literal terms, a secret solo deal for Qantas could’ve sent Virgin Australia packing overnight. Scurrah later told Virgin Australia employees…
“Upon hearing this I immediately contacted the Deputy Prime Minister, who denied any such deal was in place and that both airlines will be treated equally.
The good news is that he called me tonight to say we will be offered the opportunity to operate a ‘minimum domestic network’ subsidised by the Australian Government,” Scurrah continued. “We will be in discussions with the Australian Government tomorrow to work through the detail.”
Ultimately, this is great news for Australians, at least in the interim. Without any positive cash flow, the move won’t immediately help Virgin Australia out of insolvency concerns, but it does create a stay of execution. Work for employees, essential competition on essential flight routes and choice for passengers flying between Australian cities.
The notion of a secret deal between the Australian Government and Qantas being spoiled by a leak, or early celebration feels like the plot to a future Netflix series. The world loves drama, and Australia is supplying the airline industry with its fair share.
The Government still maintains the concept of a $1bn rescue fund for the aviation sector, but has thus far failed to reach an agreement on any measures for Qantas or Virgin Australia. The latter has been pulled from stock trading in recent days ahead of speculation.
With a likely ban on international travel through 2020, the country may need all the domestic flights it can get later this year. After all, no one holidays quite like an Aussie.