International airlines may be forced to suspend flights to Australia after arrival cap halved

After the Australian cabinet decided to reduce the number of persons allowed into the country by half, international airlines fear they may be forced to stop flights to Australia. They also claim that any suggestion of price gouging or insulting the country's sovereignty is absurd and ridiculous.The number of overseas arrivals to Australia will drop from 6,070 to 3,035 per week starting 14 July. This will crush the hopes of thousands who are stuck abroad and want to return home.Barry Abrams (executive director of the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia) said that he sympathizes with those who were caught abroad. He said that airlines flying to Australia, and still struggling to make ends meet, would have to make tough decisions.Abrams stated that it will be very difficult for many airlines to keep their flights to Australia regular.Many people will ask whether it is better to run cargo flights than suspend passenger flights. It wouldn't be cutting off Australia, but I would expect reduced connectivity and availability for flights from Australia.Abrams stated that the price of a flight depends on its length and how many passengers it can carry. The direct cost of a flight runs at $10,000 an hour.He expects that if an airline ceases to operate, the government will reallocate seats to other airlines flying to Australia under the new cap. Abrams stated that there was no information available to the industry about how the change would be handled.He said that the airlines have not yet been allocated their cap cuts. This is the only way airlines will be able to start processing this once those processes have begun. This does not guarantee any certainty.While we understand that it is a horrible situation, we comply with the Australian government's request that the airlines go.Abrams stated that the airline industry was not consulted prior to Friday's announcement.An outpouring in anger and dismay was witnessed among online communities for Australians who were left behind overseas by the news.Many people criticized the decision as inhumane. Particularly since no timeline or targets were provided to clarify when travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers might be lifted.Nearly 5,000 people signed a petition asking for Annastacia Palaszczuk to be denied entry to Australia for the Tokyo Olympics. This was after the Queensland premier initiated the campaign by states to reduce international arrivals.The latest figures from the foreign affairs department show that 34,000 Australians are still overseas and waiting for their return.Although the price of flights to Australia rose after Friday's announcement, Abrams refuted any suggestion that airlines were overcharging.Abrams stated that international airlines would consider it an insult. They continued to operate in extremely difficult commercial conditions throughout the pandemic, and large multinationals continue to suffer large cash flow losses. It is absurd to think they were profiteering and gouging.Greg Hunt, federal minister of health, said Saturday that he hoped nobody seeks out a commercial advantage in difficult circumstances.Simon Birmingham, the finance minister, defended Sunday's decision to reduce the arrival cap.He explained that this decision only addresses the reality that our risk profile changes as we move through the pandemic. That profile is altered by the Delta variant in terms of its transmissibility and associated risks.The minister rejected suggestions that the cap reduction could be avoided if the federal government had started planning and building purpose-built quarantine facilities by 2020.He said that he doesn't think we will ever be able replicate the hotel quarantine numbers in other facilities.Australia has done an amazing job of allowing people to return while also continuing to suppress the virus in the community. This has been a very successful model.Australia Associated Press provides additional reporting