Qantas urges government to ‘safely open our borders’ in donated ad space from Nine and News Corp

Qantas has called for domestic borders to be reopened in time for the summer holidays, kicking off a campaign utilising donated print ad space from Nine and News Corp.

The campaign, which also targets customers directly via email, drives Australians towards a petition on the Qantas website that calls for ‘domestic border closures to be risk-assessed against an agreed set of medical criteria and a shared definition of what constitutes a COVID hotspot’. The petition currently has 54,000 signatures.

The ad space was donated by Nine and News Corp (click to enlarge)

Signatories of the petition are asked to provide their postcode and a comment on the impact the border closures have had on them, which will then be sent to their local MP.

The print ad, which ran in yesterday’s Nine and News Corp papers, positions the call to open borders as a move to support regional communities and local businesses, and asks people who “want to be reunited with loved ones after months of being apart” to show their support.

In the bottom right hand corner of the ad is a disclosure that the space has been donated to “support Australian businesses”.

Qantas’ vested interest in kickstarting domestic travel comes after the airline reported a $2bn loss in its annual financial results due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 20,000 Qantas employees have been stood down since April.

CEO Alan Joyce voiced his opposition to the state border closures following the release of Qantas’ results last month, saying “it’s very clear that we don’t have clear guidelines for when the borders will open”.

Joyce has been vocal about reopening borders

“We have a situation where there are large numbers of states and territories that have had zero cases and they’re not even open to each other,” Joyce said in August.

“Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland. Tasmania, we’ve got closure there still with very low cases, no cases and it’s been like that for a while and we don’t have any determination of when the borders will open.

“We need to have the framework for what will allow them to open to give certainty to the tourism industry, to our company, to our employees and eventually at some stage, we know that we have to start that tourism industry again, the economy is depending on it.”

Qantas itself has also written to state and federal MPs from tourism-dependent electorates, making the case for a common, medically-based framework for reopening state borders.

The airline expects that other parts of the tourism industry will join the campaign.

Continuing its efforts to garner support from customers, yesterday, Qantas placed a flight that will depart from Sydney, tour Australian icons such as the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru, and touch back down in the NSW capital on sale. The 130 tickets sold out within 10 minutes, with economy seats priced at $787 and business class costing $3,787.

The ‘Safely open our borders’ campaign has been developed in-house. The Monkeys is Qantas’ creative agency of record.

Mumbrella contacted Qantas for comment.


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