The Federal Government will continue funding several Australian domestic airlines including Qantas, Virgin Australia and Rex under a renewed ‘minimum domestic network’ package. The program was originally launched on April 17, allowing Qantas and Virgin Australia to reinstate over 220 routes in order to help bring passengers home and enable essential travellers to continue flying. The package was set to expire today (June 7), although funding will now continue until September 30.
In addition to subsidised flights, the government will also extend fee waivers and refunds for several aviation charges which cover operations, security and fuel excise. The Regional Airlines Funding Assistance program is also set to continue until December 31 or until funds are exhausted.
When first announced, the Domestic Aviation Network Support program (DNAS) was projected to cost $165 million for the original eight-week period. With both Virgin Australia and Qantas announcing increased domestic flights as travel restrictions ease, the cost of the now extended DNAS package has not been announced.
It is important to note that DNAS was not positioned as a moneymaker, but more of a break-even affair. While government funding ensures flights don’t operate at a loss, it is unlikely for airlines to see a profit.
Flights are still set to be sold as normal, with travellers continuing to earn frequent flyer points and status credits where normal. Passengers travelling on these services should prepare for multiple safeguards including a reduced meal service, airline provided masks, sequenced boarding and disembarkation plus little to no inflight entertainment.
Want to know more about changes to your inflight experience? Check out this article!