P came into the kitchen today, clearly with something on his mind. Turns out there was a 4Corners episode about the government’s decision not to bail out Virgin but how they quietly have bailed out Rex airlines instead. Turns out the CEO of Rex airlines is an ex leader of the National Party. No conflict of interest there, Mr Morrison. Oh and apparently Virgin asked if the government would give them a short term loan and, if they didn’t meet the repayments, the government would get a massive share in the company. What? Gain assets! How ridiculous. Assets are things you sell off, right?
Anyway, I get it. It’s pretty despicable that no decision seems to be entirely about what is good for the country. There’s always something in it for somebody who wears the right stripes or digs the right holes. It’s pretty sick and, to my mind, it’s certainly not in the spirit of democracy.
However, that being said… are Virgin and Rex apples and apples? Or are they apples and bananas? Rex is a teeny tiny regional airline that I was barely aware of. Virgin was trying to compete internationally and, to be frank, didn’t seem to be quite coping. They’re very different propositions.
Will international flight ever really get back up to where they were before COVID? I know people who are convinced that nothing has changed that much. But QANTAS just cut 6000 staff even with Virgin apparently out of contention. They’re obviously not expecting things to bounce back terribly quickly. And the longer it takes, maybe the more everybody will adjust to the new norm. And then, when international travel does become more possible again, how expensive will it be? How many airlines will have been able to hold their breath for 12 or 18 or 24 months and then resurface unscathed? So if there are fewer flights, won’t they cost more? And large portions of the world population who might have been jet-setters may be seriously financially affected by this pandemic.
I don’t know the answers. But I’m just saying, in the scheme of things, even if you hate the politics (which I whole-heartedly do), maybe it’s possible that a small regional solely Australian airline is a better bet right now.
Where do you stand on the question of Rex vs Virgin?