Government extends support to Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin


The federal government is extending a number of programs aimed at the aviation sector. As a result, Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin will be able to maintain a minimal network, underwritten by the government.

Firstly, the Domestic Aviation Network Support will be extended to 30 September. As a result, airlines will be able to maintain connections between the major cities.

Secondly, the Reginal Aviation Network Support program will be extended to 31 December. The extension of this program will allow a minimal regional service to be operated until that date.


Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin will resume limited flying from 17 April, to form what the government calls a Minimum Domestic Network.

As travel restrictions across the country have made their operations commercially unviable, the three airlines significantly cut their schedules on Good Friday. For example, in the case of Virgin, they had reduced to a single daily return flight between Sydney and Melbourne.

To allow travellers, such as essential workers, the ability to get to where they need to be, the government is underwriting a number of flights. The $165 million package will be split between Virgin and the Qantas Group. In total it will see Virgin operate 64 return flights a week. Over at Qantas, the group will operate 164 flights per week.

Overall, the minimum domestic network sees connections between the capital cities, together with a number of regional centres.

Virgin Australia Minimum Domestic Network

Virgin was first out of the blocks, so we’ll start there. Tickets have now gone on sale, for flights for eight weeks from tomorrow. That means they will be operating the schedule between 17 April and 7 June 2020.

Virgin has published the following map showing their network:

Virgin Minimal Domestic Network

Virgin Minimal Domestic Network

Specifically, the network offers the following routes:


  • Adelaide (three return services per week)
  • Brisbane (seven return services per week)
  • Canberra (three return services per week)
  • Perth (seven return services per week)
  • Sydney (seven return services per week)


  • Melbourne (seven return services per week)
  • Sydney (seven return services per week)
  • Cairns (three return services per week)
  • Mackay (five return services per week)
  • Rockhampton (three return services per week)
  • Townsville (three return services per week)


  • Melbourne (seven return services per week)
  • Brisbane (seven return services per week)
  • Gold Coast (three return services per week)


  • Melbourne (three return services per week)


  • Melbourne (three return services per week)


  • Melbourne (seven return services per week)
  • Broome (three return services per week)
  • Port Hedland (two return services per week)
  • Newman (two return services per week)
  • Karratha (two return services per week)
  • Kununurra (two return services per week)
  • Kalgoorlie (two return services per week)

Qantas Minimum Domestic Network

For its part, Qantas will operate the following:

Trunk Routes:

Sydney to

  • Adelaide
  • Brisbane
  • Canberra
  • Melbourne
  • Perth

Melbourne to

  • Adelaide
  • Brisbane
  • Canberra
  • Hobart
  • Perth


New South Wales

  • Albury – Sydney
  • Armidale – Sydney
  • Ballina – Sydney
  • Coffs Harbour – Sydney
  • Dubbo – Sydney
  • Lord Howe Island – Sydney
  • Tamworth – Sydney
  • Wagga Wagga – Sydney

Victoria & Tasmania

  • Melbourne – Mildura
  • Melbourne – Launceston


Brisbane to

  • Cairns
  • Emerald
  • Gladstone
  • Mt Isa
  • Longreach
  • Mackay
  • Moranbah
  • Roma
  • Rockhampton
  • Townsville



  • Horne Island
  • Townsville
  • Weipa



  • Cloncurry – Mt Isa
  • Cloncurry – Townsville
  • Charleville – Roma
  • Mt Isa – Townsville
  • Mackay – Rockhampton
  • Mackay – Townsville
  • Townsville – Rockhampton


South Australia

Adelaide to

  • Kangaroo Island
  • Port Lincoln
  • Whyalla


Northern Territory

  • Alice Springs – Darwin
  • Alice Springs – Sydney
  • Brisbane – Darwin


Western Australia

  • Newman – Perth
  • Broome – Perth
  • Geraldton – Perth
  • Kalgoorlie – Perth
  • Learmonth – Perth
  • Port Hedland – Perth
  • Karratha – Perth


It is good to see the government step in and provide a basic service. But do note that these flights are really for ‘essential’ travellers, or people that have been stranded out of state.

If you don’t have a reason to fly, you shouldn’t really be taking these flights. But if you do need to fly, at least there are some more options now.

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About Author

Mark is the founder of FlyStayPoints, and caught the travel bug early in life. He discovered the benefits of travel loyalty programs in 2001, and is always learning how they can make travel better. While work takes him between Perth and Melbourne, he is always plotting his next adventure.