The Future of Australia's Aviation Sector

The Australian Government is continuing to work closely with the aviation industry as it faces the ongoing challenges associated with COVID-19.

The government is providing support for freight and critical passenger movements through a range of assistance programs, focused on:

  • maintaining supply lines for air freight exports and imports, including essential medical supplies and equipment
  • maintaining essential air connectivity without subsidising commercially viable services; and
  • preserving critical capacity so a competitive aviation market can restart as the economy emerges from COVID-19 and COVID restrictions are lifted.

The government's support not only helps Australia's airlines but the broader aviation industry, regional Australia, and other industries such as tourism and time-sensitive trade, which depend heavily on aviation.

Looking ahead to recovery

While responding to the immediate COVID-19 crisis, the Australian Government is also looking ahead, to ensure the aviation sector is on a sustainable long term footing once travel bans and border restrictions are lifted. This is challenging task, which requires the expertise and input of the sector and those that rely on it.

The government is seeking public input to inform a Five-Year Plan, to strengthen and grow the Australian aviation sector beyond COVID-19.

Input will be sought via the following processes over the coming months.

The Future of Australia's Aviation Sector—Issues Paper

The Australian Government is examining options to further support and strengthen the aviation industry, both to manage the current impacts of the COVID-19 downturn, support the recovery and look at pathways for longer-term reform.

The department has released the Future of Australia's Aviation Sector Issues Paper PDF: 2566 KB to canvass industry and community views on potential policy directions to manage the opportunities and challenges facing the sector.

The Issues Paper seeks public submissions on:

  • the impact of the current COVID-19 crisis, including the Australian Government's support packages; and
  • longer term policies and reforms to support development of a Five-Year Plan for Aviation.

Submissions on these issues will be accepted until COB Friday 13 November 2020.

Submissions can either be provided by email, at, or in hard copy, addressed to:

Director, Strategic and Economic Policy Projects
Data, Analytics and Policy Division

Note that submissions will be published in full on the Department's website unless you indicate that you would like all or part of your submission to remain in confidence. Information about the Department's management of private information is set out in the Issues Paper.

Virtual consultations

Virtual consultations with industry and the community will be held from October 2020 to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the sector, both in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis and in the longer term.

Further details about these sessions, including registration information, will be published on this page. If you would like to be kept up to date on consultations, you can register your interest and contact details via an email to

The Government's Five-Year Plan for Aviation

The Australian aviation sector was already facing challenges prior to COVID-19, particularly in regional Australia. Some airlines, airports and allied aviation businesses have thin margins and high fixed operating costs. Other parts of the sector faced difficulties in attracting skilled workers. Technology in the sector is evolving quickly, with the potential to generate new commercial, economic and social opportunities, if supported by appropriate legal, regulatory and policy frameworks.

The Australian Government has clear long term objectives for aviation:

  • A competitive and efficient aviation sector
  • A safe, secure and environmentally sustainable aviation sector
  • Ensuring minimum access to essential aviation services

Delivering against these objectives during this period of upheaval and uncertainty will require leadership and planning. Informed by the Submissions on the Issues Paper and ongoing consultation with industry, the Australian Government will release its Five-Year Plan for Aviation in 2021. The Plan will set out a program of longer-term reforms to help deliver against these objectives and assist the sector return to strength and sustainability.

The Regional Aviation Policy Issues Paper

The March 2020 Regional Aviation Policy Issues Paper PDF: 740 KB process was deferred from early 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Regional aviation policy issues canvassed through this previous process and the issues paper will also be considered as part of the current Future of Aviation Issues Paper and consultation processes. While COVID-19 has had far reaching implications across the regional aviation industry, many of the issues explored in the March 2020 Issues Paper remain relevant and stakeholders may wish to draw on the March 2020 document when providing submissions to the current process.

Links to media releases and publications