Airport staff at Newcastle Airport in Australia are facing an uncertain future without access to JobKeeper because the business is ineligble for the government subsidy.
In a statement the airport said that, “Given the state of our industry and the level of uncertainty that continues to grow, we need to undertake necessary changes to ensure a viable business in the long term. Therefore we have applied to the Industrial Relations Commission for orders allowing us to temporarily stand down workers due to the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our business.”
Despite passenger traffic and related revenues being decimated since late March, the airport has managed to keep most of its permanent staff employed throughout the pandemic.
“While the airport can and does have a large impact on our region, we are not a large company in terms of workforce. Our staff are incredibly important part of who we are, which makes this course of action particularly difficult to take. However, our responsibility is to ensure we have a strong viable airport to service our region well into the future,” the statement continued.
According to a report in Australian Aviation, it is thought that the business can’t claim for the JobKeeper handout because of its local government ownership structure. Despite continuing to prosecute its case with the ATO, the lack of JobKeeper support has placed additional financial strain on the airport.
Although the airport management team remains confident about tourism in the region and the plans for developing the airport, the news that it hasn’t been able to secure JobKeeper funding serves as a reminder of the need for the government to invest in its aviation industry.