Two national airlines will be needed to ensure the quickest road to the recovery of domestic tourism in Australia in a post-COVID 19 world, says the accommodation industry as calls for urgent action to save Virgin Australia were ramped up.
Amid the airline entering voluntary administration this week, the accommodation industry’s two major advocacy bodies say an airline monopoly would remove the competitive edge needed to ensure hotels can cater to a strong return of corporate, leisure and MICE business.
Accommodation Association CEO, Dean Long, said it was critical to the wider travel sector that everything possible was done to ensure Virgin Australia was not consigned to the history books.
“Having a competitive domestic airline market is essential to the future growth and recovery of the tourism accommodation sector,” he said.
Tourism Accommodation Australia National CEO, Michael Johnson, added the hotel sector will be heavily reliant on domestic tourism as international borders are expected to be closed for several more months to come.
“Accommodation hotels in regional destinations in particular such as Cairns are heavily reliant on both Virgin and Qantas and the existing competition between both. The last thing they need is for a national carrier to collapse,” he said.
The move by Virgin Australia is understood to come following a refusal from the federal government to provide a bailout package as the airline struggles under as much as AUD$5 billion in debt. Deloitte has been appointed to take responsibility for Virgin Australia as of this week as a path to return the carrier to profitability and out of administration begins to take shape.