National

Airport boss calls for state borders to re-open

Airport boss calls for state borders to re-open
Canberra Airport chief executive Stephen Byron has called for states to open their borders in the wake of Qantas's announcement it will lay off thousands of staff.
Up to 6000 people are set to lose their jobs as the airline responds to the coronavirus pandemic.
The travel industry has suffered greatly during domestic and international lockdowns, with Mr Byron estimating the drop in business had jumped from 90 percent to 97 percent in the past few weeks.
Canberra Airport chief executive Stephen Byron has called for state borders to re-open to rescue the travel industry. (9News)
"Today is a very dark day for aviation and for Qantas," Mr Byron said.
"The sun is shining, we're all back to our normal life and it feels like business as usual, but when it comes to aviation and to travel, it's very far from business as usual."
He said the travel industry faced a "test of survival".
"There is more bad news for people ahead," he said.
Mr Byron said knock-on effects would be felt in supporting industries such as catering, hotels and even rental cars.
"Domestic aviation needs the borders to be open," Mr Byron said.
Qantas has advised it will have to sack thousands of staff. (iStock)
"The reason these job losses are as high as they are is because the borders have been closed, against the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Australia."
Mr Byron claimed the Chief Medical Officer had advised the states re-open their borders.
However, earlier this week, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth told a press conference that the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee had never taken a position on border closures, leaving the matter to the states.
Despite this, Mr Byron was hopeful that there would be positive news from the National Cabinet about the progress of a trans-Tasman travel bubble.
He said it would be "common sense" for the bubble to exclude Victoria during the current fresh outbreak of COVID-19 in the southern state.