Canberra Airport chief executive Stephen Byron is floating the idea of another travel bubble as the ACT edges closer to three weeks without a virus case.
Before the coronavirus lockdown, more than 120 flights were going in and out of the airport however that number has since dropped to two or three a day.
“There are so many jobs at stake. There are jobs at the airport, but right through the industry, tourism industry, the accommodation industry and everything. We are a COVID-free place,” Mr Byron told ABC News Breakfast.
“Canberra has not had any COVID for 17 days. And Queensland and South Australian premiers don’t want to open up to places where there is COVID. We are saying that we are free of it right now.
“It is a good first incremental step to start flights to Canberra now between Adelaide and also Brisbane to Canberra.”
Mr Byron hopes Canberrans, Queenslanders and South Australians could travel without the two-week quarantine period.
But the airport executive is yet to hear anything from the two.
“The thing with aviation is a date needs to be set for two weeks’ time or so that people can make bookings on flights and the airlines can schedule flights,” he said.
“It’s not like just ramping up a cafe and turning up and changing from takeaway to dine-in again within 24 hours. The aviation industry needs a very clear timetable with firm dates.
“We need to know that we can restart these flights in a matter of weeks. Ideally by 8 June. And certainly be well and truly up and running for the school holidays on 1 July.”
Mr Byron said if state and territories kept their borders shut, Aussies might be looking at a New Zealand holiday first.
“The aviation industry has never been shut down in this way ever. And so we’re starting at zero. We have got to get back to 20 per cent and then ideally 50 per cent during July with flights during the school holidays,” he said.
“If the state premiers hold the line, then I think what you’ll see is that the trans-Tasman bubble with flights from the eastern seaboard through to New Zealand opening up from about 1 July. That too needs to be a target so that we can get more activity in the tourism industry, more jobs and more businesses reopening.”