The CEO of the Qantas Group has called for the creation of a national framework around state border closures and restrictions, saying there is currently no clarity and consistency.
Speaking during a media briefing on Thursday to discuss the airline’s financial results, CEO Alan Joyce said the ad hoc system was having an impact on the airline’s efforts to recover in the domestic market.
It was also a cause of “upheaval and uncertainty” for passengers, he noted.
No rules around how borders are closing
“We’ve been hit by another set of border closures,” Joyce told journalists.
“It shows how important it is to have a national framework for domestic borders – so that there is clarity and consistency. At the moment, there are no rules around how borders are going to close and going to open.”
He believed the closure of Australia’s international borders was justified in the interests of protecting the country. There was also widespread agreement that Victoria’s borders should be closed.
“But it’s very clear that we don’t have clear guidelines for when the borders will open, when they will close,” Joyce stated.
Some border closures are not logical
In a subsequent interview with Sky News, he expanded on the border-closure concerns, saying they appeared to be politically driven.
“When you have states with zero cases closing their borders to states with zero cases, there doesn’t seem to be any medical reason or health reason, or any logical reason for those to remain closed,” Joyce said.
“And at the moment it doesn’t seem to be medically or scientifically based,” he added, while calling for greater clarity and a framework that would provide transparency for the tourism industry and the travelling public.
CEO names top domestic routes at present
In his media briefing, the Qantas CEO also gave details of the airline’s most popular domestic routes at present, which he said were operating at “fascinating” levels.
The route with the highest demand is Brisbane-Cairns, which is operating at higher levels than prior to the pandemic.
It is a similar situation with the Perth-Broome route in Western Australia and Sydney-Ballina in NSW.
“What is uplifting is we know when the borders open up and people can travel, there is huge demand pent up for travel,” Joyce said.