Chair’s Op-ed: Regional Capital Routes Must Continue to Soar Post COVID-19 Turbulence

Virgin Australia’s announcement of voluntary administration has created widespread concern regarding the future state of the Australian aviation industry. As the leaders of regional Australia, our members share these concerns. Our regional routes must not be left at the boarding gate with reduced services and severely increased fairs.

When the dust settles on COVID-19, our aviation industry must have competition that is committed to maintaining existing or, even better, extra regional routes and services.

As a leader of a thriving regional capital city, I know in no uncertain terms that a competitive airline sector, that continues to service the needs of our regions, is fundamental to the current and future success of regional Australia.

Prior to COVID-19 restrictions, many of our member cities had daily Virgin Australia services running through their airports, connecting them to other parts of Australia and then to the rest of the world.

These cities, which have a combined population of 650,000 (and estimated wider service area of 2 million people), are facing the detrimental impacts of reduced connectivity (including price gouging) if regional needs are overlooked in negotiations surrounding the future of Virgin Australia or a new airline entrant.

Air connectivity enhances the quality of life for those who work and live outside metropolitan areas, overcoming the often-discussed tyranny of distance.

Better connections allow regional Australians access to specialist health, and education services not available locally and also provide better remote working opportunities for those Australian’s who are looking to escape the crushing congestion of our nation’s big cities.

As a nation, we must insist that any solution to maintaining competition in the Australian aviation industry, also means maintain competition outside Sydney and Melbourne.

The continued connectivity, liveability and competitiveness of our regional cities depend on this outcome.


Molly Hurley, Regional Capitals Australia Secretariat
M: 0499 199 795

About Regional Capitals Australia

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) is a national alliance of local government councils across the nation representing Australia’s regional cities. RCA’s mission is to provide a recognised platform to champion the strategic importance and sustainable development of regional

capitals around the nation. To learn more about our work visit