Regional flight route subsidies extended until 31 March

Commonwealth support for capital city and regional airline networks is being extended to early next as part of the 2020-21 Federal Budget.

The Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) program, which has helped maintain essential air services for regional and remote communities during the Covid-19 pandemic, is being extended until 28 March 2021.

The Domestic Aviation Network Support (DANS) program, which has has been used to support capital city air routes will be extended to 31 January 2021. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said border restrictions had made life more difficult for the aviation industry and cost jobs, led to cancelled flights, refunds and passenger frustration.

“In regional Australia, flights are so central to local economies, underpinning many small businesses including tourism operators, whilst ensuring continued access to key medical supplies and personnel,” he said.

“The Federal Government is doing its bit by underwriting these flights to maintain minimum connectivity; now we need the States and Territories to do their bit too as we again encourage the continued easing of border restrictions.

The Australian Airports Association has welcomed the extensions but called on the Federal Government to use the Budget to support the costs of essential, government-mandated services such as security screening.