Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

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 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.

Final submissions were accepted until 27 November 2020 and the department is now considering them.

Public Submissions on the Future of Australia’s Aviation Sector Issues Paper

Public submissions made on the Future of Australia's Aviation Sector Issues Paper are set out below, except for the submissions that were submitted as confidential submissions. Published submissions have been redacted in some cases to remove personal or sensitive information (such as personal addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, licence or membership numbers, and scanned signatures). The Department is not responsible for the content of these submissions, which remains the responsibility of the original authors, and submissions do not represent the views of the Department.

1 Save Kempsey Airport Action Group PDF: 1263 KB
2 Australian Corporate Jet Centres PDF: 116 KB
3 C.W. Whitney PDF: 389 KB
4 General Aviation Advisory Network PDF: 208 KB
5 Engineers Australia PDF: 540 KB
6 John Cameron Aviation PDF: 2686 KB
7 Inner West Council PDF: 316 KB
8 NT Airports PDF: 181 KB
9 Australian & International Pilots Association PDF: 270 KB
10 Professionals Australia PDF: 460 KB
11 Australian Business Aviation Association PDF: 68 KB
12 Name withheld PDF: 19 KB
13 Aviation Australia PDF: 203 KB
14 Air Affairs Australia PDF: 192 KB
15 AgBioGen PDF: 204 KB
16 Bioenergy Australia PDF: 397 KB
17 Name withheld PDF: 54 KB
18 Name withheld PDF: 30 KB
19 Pegasus Aviation Advisers PDF: 383 KB
20 Aerial Application Association of Australia PDF: 235 KB
21 Mark Fiess PDF: 218 KB
22 Mt Isa City Council PDF: 3446 KB
23 Bega Valley Shire Council PDF: 3575 KB
24 NT Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade PDF: 2674 KB
25 Australian Federation of Air Pilots PDF: 471 KB
26 Australian Aviation Ground Handlers Industry Alliance PDF: 848 KB
27 Board of Airline Representatives Australia PDF: 772 KB
28 Australian Helicopter Industry Association PDF: 135 KB
29 Robert Cassidy PDF: 589 KB
30 Civil Air Traffic Control Australia PDF: 160 KB
31 Qantas PDF: 377 KB
32 Perth Airport PDF: 20870 KB
33 South Australian Freight Council PDF: 483 KB
34 Airlines for Australia & New Zealand (A4ANZ) PDF: 3081 KB
35 Newcastle Airport PDF: 5386 KB
36 Canberra Airport PDF: 552 KB
37 Adelaide and Parafield Airports PDF: 354 KB
38 Australia & Pacific Airports Corporation PDF: 581 KB
39 International Air Transport Association PDF: 112 KB
40 Western Sydney Airport PDF: 381 KB
41 Albury Airport PDF: 195 KB
42 Regional Development Australia (Townsville and North-West QLD) PDF: 314 KB
43 Moorabbin Airport PDF: 108 KB
44 Australian Airports Association PDF: 1301 KB
45 Australian Logistics Council PDF: 431 KB
46 Sydney Metro Airports PDF: 168 KB
47 Regional Capitals Australia PDF: 993 KB
48 NSW Government PDF: 610 KB
49 Royal Flying Doctor Service PDF: 675 KB
50 Sydney Airport PDF: 351 KB
51 Brisbane Airport Corporation PDF: 556 KB
52 Queensland Airports PDF: 287 KB
53 Regional Aviation Association of Australia PDF: 3136 KB
54 Port Hedland Council PDF: 1153 KB
55 WA Government PDF: 395 KB
PDF: 320 KB
56 Tourism and Transport Forum PDF: 170 KB
57 Local Government NSW PDF: 214 KB
58 Business Council of Australia PDF: 917 KB
59 Australian & International Pilots Association PDF: 431 KB

Future of Aviation Reference Panel

The Future of Aviation Reference Panel has been established to consult the aviation industry on the recently released Issues Paper on the Future of Australia's Aviation Sector and provide expert advice to Government on the challenges facing the industry and opportunities for reform.

The Panel will be chaired by Professor Patrick Murray, Chair of the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Honorary Professor of Aviation and Logistics at the University of Southern Queensland. Professor Murray will be joined by expert panel members Ms Adrianne Fleming OAM, Mr Andrew Drysdale and Ms Shannon O"Hara.

The Panel will engage industry and advise the Government on how to support the aviation sector as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure we continue to have a safe, secure and efficient industry for Australia's future.

Queries regarding the Panel's work should be directed to the Secretariat via an email to

Virtual consultations

Public consultations with industry and the community were held in December 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.

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 were able to draw on the March 2020 document when providing submissions to the current process.

Sydney Airport Demand Management Review

The Australian Government is also undertaking a comprehensive review of Sydney Airport demand management, following the Productivity Commission's 2019 Inquiry into the Economic Regulation of Airports.

The Department acknowledges that stakeholders may be interested in multiple consultation activities currently underway that relate to aviation. The scope, timeframes and processes for the Sydney Airport Demand Management Review, including opportunities for stakeholder engagement, are separate to those for the Future of Australia's Aviation Sector Issues Paper.

For further information, including how to engage, see the Sydney Airport Demand Management Review.

Links to media releases and publications