Australia’s Federal Government has released two more aid packages for Australia’s regional airlines in addition to the A$715 million (US$438 million) package announced earlier.

A statement from the ministry of transport says the Federal Government will be providing an A$198 million Regional Air Network Assistance Package as well as A$100 million in grants to provide direct financial support to smaller regional airlines during this unprecedented downturn in aviation activity should it be needed. 

Airlines, contracted aero-medical providers and a range of other essential service providers can apply for the grants, and subject to financial analysis, be eligible for assistance on a month-by- month basis through to 30 September 2020, where there is a demonstrated need, it says.

Deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development, Michael McCormack, says critical air services are needed now more than ever to connect regional Australia to freight, medical testing, supplies and essential personnel.

The previously announced package worth A$715 million provided reductions in fees, charges and taxes. But some smaller regional carriers argued the earlier package was insufficient. They said the earlier package provided incentives for flying – which they welcomed – but they argued they also needed cash grants to improve their financial position.

Under these two additional packages, the government says it is offering to help “underwrite airlines’ operating costs on selected routes.”

“These new measures build on the A$715 million in support already announced for the aviation sector, affirming the Government’s committed to supporting Australia’s aviation industry through this crisis,” it adds.

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