The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), which covers the majority of pilots in the Qantas Group, is supporting the Group of Eight universities in its campaign to allow foreign students back into Australia.
AIPA president Mark Sedgwick said while the university sector needed foreign students back in classes, Qantas and Jetstar pilots would welcome the additional flights to allow the airlines to provide work for stood-down pilots and cabin crew.
“Allowing the students to return, with strict health checks and quarantine periods, could mean hundreds of additional flights to bring the estimated 120,000 stranded foreign students to Australia,” Mr Sedgwick said.
“With international border closures and domestic restrictions remaining in place, extra flights to bring foreign students back to Australia would be welcomed by pilots who face months of uncertainty,” he said.
“We fully support the Group of Eight universities proposal that the flights be conducted by a ‘trusted Australian carrier’ and our pilots are ready to take part in the program.”
“Aviation is one of the sectors hardest hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and we believe the time is right to begin airlifting foreign students to Australia.”
“The Group of Eight Universities plan is well thought out and deserves a quick response from Federal and State Governments.”
“We also welcome the leadership provided by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian by encouraging foreign students to return, particularly to regional universities.”
“Encouraging international students back to these areas will assist in their recovery and provide valuable work for the regional carriers that service areas with significant tertiary education hubs such as Bathurst and Armidale in NSW.”