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Australian Aviation Boosts As Half-Rate Flights Sell Fast

Deputy Prime Minister says three-quarters of the government's Covid-19 recovery discounted holiday flights are rising in demand.

MELBOURNE, Australia — More than 600,000 half-price flights have been snapped up in just three weeks following the Australian government’s AUD-1.2 billion ($0.93- billion) package to help tourism bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the mass uptake of cheap domestic holiday trips is a big win for the aviation industry, with carriers “now doing a roaring trade.”

“Australians are taking trips in large numbers with airlines reporting sales dwarfing previous records – our aviation industry is in a remarkable position compared to where it was just one year ago,” McCormack said in a statement on April 25.

“The proof is there in the sky today, as we see QantasVirginRex, and so many other smaller airlines flying proudly, carrying Australians to their dream holidays.”

“The benefit isn’t just for those Australians embarking on their holiday at home. It’s also a win for jobs in our aviation industry, local small businesses who are now making a roaring trade, and for our tourism operators who have come back to life as a result of these half-price flights.”

The government last month announced 800,000 half-priced flights to several destinations across the country.

It was criticized for choosing the locations of the discounted trips instead of allowing travelers to decide themselves.

Australian Tourism Industry Council spokesman Simon Westaway said the subsidized airfares were a good start and just one stepping stone needed to help the sector back onto its feet.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the mass uptake of cheap domestic holiday trips is a big win for the aviation industry, with carriers “now doing a roaring trade”. (Dean Lewins/AAP Image)

The industry lost about AUD 90 billion ($70.09 billion) last year due to the pandemic, with hospitality and accommodation jobs plunging into freefall.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan said on April 25 the government was making suitable investments at the right time to help Australia’s economic recovery.

“More than 75 percent of our half-priced tickets have been sold, and the rest will go like hotcakes,” he said.

“My message to Australians is to take advantage of this opportunity to book a cheap holiday through your travel agent and when you’re on holiday spend on a tourist activity and a night out to support tourism jobs and business.”

“For every dollar (AUD) spent on a flight, ten more will be spent on the ground, and from speaking to so many people in the tourism industry, I know this program has made a difference.

“The tourism industry is central to our National Economic Recovery Plan and, as we have done right throughout the pandemic, we will continue to make the necessary investments to support jobs across Australia,” Tehan said in a statement.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ojaswin Kathuria.)

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