PM eyes sector-wide virus aid for aviation

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has cast doubt on the prospect of a $1.4 billion bailout for Virgin Australia to cope with coronavirus.

Mr Morrison remained tight-lipped about the potential of a loan for the airline after Virgin requested the package to survive the crisis.

“I can only point to the decisions the government has made and those decisions have been made on a sector-wide basis,” he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

Virgin Australia is looking for a $1.4 billion loan, while rival Qantas has put a $4.2 billion price tag on the help it would need if targeted bailouts are dished out.

The Australian Financial Review reported on Thursday the government is open to the idea of allowing another carrier into the market if Virgin fails.

Virgin last week stood down about 8000 of its 10,000 workers and cut domestic capacity by 90 per cent after travel ground to a halt because of the disease.

The government has waived fees for airlines as part of more than $700 million in measures to help Australia’s ailing carriers.

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