Qantas boss Alan Joyce has slammed Western Australia’s decision to indefinitely delay its hard border reopening plan likening the isolated state to North Korea.
Last week, WA Premier Mark McGowan performed an about flip and suddenly cancelled plans to ease pandemic border restrictions. The state has been largely closed off to the world and the rest of Australia since the start of the pandemic but McGowan had promised to reconnect the state once the double vaccinated rate hit 90 per cent of the eligible population.
But just as WA hit the target, McGowan rewrote the rule book and cancelled the reopening plan. McGowan said it would be “reckless and irresponsible to open up” given the Omicron wave sweeping Australia. The premier wants to increase booster dose rates before easing border restrictions but he hasn’t given any indication when that might now happen.
Joyce slammed McGowan on Friday, saying Western Australia was “starting to look like North Korea”.
“It’s disappointed tens of thousands of people that had booked to go to Western Australia,” Joyce told a local radio station. Qantas has been forced to slash domestic capacity in response to the border reopening plan and will operate just 15 weekly flights to Perth from other key cities across Australia.
“I think we should be all a bit outraged by it,” Joyce continued. “I mean the fact you guys can get to London but you can’t get to Perth. We’re supposed to all be Australians, you can’t even travel around your own country.”
“And Western Australia, there isn’t a plan for when that’s going to open up. It’s starting to look like North Korea. It’s going to be closed indefinitely at this stage, unless we have a plan to start living with COVID and opening up to the rest of the country.”
McGowan is set to review the reopening plan at some point this month and could then set out the conditions for border easing and possibly even set a date for that to happen. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended McGowan, saying Omicron necessitates a “reset” and a different way of working.
Qantas has been operating its direct flight from London to Australia via Darwin instead of its pre-pandemic base in Perth because of the restrictions. The airline wants to return to Perth but cannot do so until the rules are eased.
Joyce also hopes to launch a direct flight from Perth to Rome in June but this new route might have to be pushed back if restrictions are lifted soon.
Low passenger numbers at Perth International Airport have forced the airport to close its T1 Domestic terminal, while T3 will only be open from Monday to Friday.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.
Cowardice and stupidity? Or just evil?
The entire WORLD has been like North Korea the past two years. It’s time to wake up and LIVE FREE. It’s time you realize there’s two kinds of people in the world. Those who have had it and those who will get it. Masks are a failure. Vax is a failure. Time to return to normal.
A politician whose begged themselves near unlimited powers, with the ability to invoke X,Y,Z without proper scrutiny under broad sweeping, poorly defined ‘Emergency Powers’ suddenly going back on their word and changing the rules at the full time whistle. AND in the country of Nazstralia at that!
Well what a shocking turn up for the books that is – said nobody
Cowards and their lapdog media gave these power-hungry politicians permission. Now that it’s happened once, it can and will happen again.
Maybe we should ban voting – can’t have people voting dangerously, can we? Might vote incorrectly and put us all in danger, going with that other guy.
Think that’s impossible? Can’t deny the needle’s moved in that direction.
Good for the man from Quantas. He has to keep his business running.
The ‘north korean can just carry on spending taxpayers money