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Qantas pilots’ association backs Joyce border calls

written by Adam Thorn | August 27, 2020
A file image of a Qantas Boeing 787-9 at Brisbane Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A Qantas Boeing 787-9 at Brisbane Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

The head of Qantas’ pilots’ association has echoed chief executive Alan Joyce’s calls for a national consensus on state border closures.

Mark Sedgwick, the executive director of the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), also told this week’s Australian Aviation podcast he thinks border closures can’t eradicate COVID-19 altogether.

“The more you shut borders, the more people become complacent and don’t socially distance, don’t wash hands, don’t stay home on their own, and when it gets into the community it runs away,” Sedgwick said. “We need a national approach.”


Last week, Australian Aviation reported how Joyce accused Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of closing her borders purely for political gain.

He said the restrictions, which include shutting off NSW and the ACT, will cause a lot of small companies in Queensland “to go out of business”, adding that states had no excuse not to open up to areas with few coronavirus cases.

“Surely these decisions should be based on the facts and the level of cases that we’re seeing around the various states?” said Joyce.

When asked by hosts Phil Tarrant and Christian “Boo” Boucousis on his views of Joyce’s words, Sedgwick was supportive.


“[We need] a national consensus based on nationwide, not an individual state, health advice, [and following] the entire AHPCC [Australian Health Protection Principal Committee], with all of the state ministers coming together.”

The news comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday said that “Australia wasn’t built to have internal borders” and restrictions should be a last resort.

“Zero per cent [of coronavirus cases] is not a threshold for how borders should be managed,” PM Morrison said.

“Australians need to be confident… that all other measures have been pursued before those restrictions come in place because borders do cost. They cost people’s livelihoods. They cost people’s jobs.”

Also on the Australian Aviation podcast, Sedgwick reveals how many of his members have found work elsewhere, why he has worked hard to build a good relationship with the Qantas Group and what advice he would give to governments trying to protect the profession for the next generation.

To listen, click the link above or search on your usual podcast provider.

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  • mike


    no borders anywhere should be closed & many aren’t. (most borders in EU & all states of USA open)

    Sweden has gone the right way.

    Qld is turning in Germany of the 1930s !!!

  • Mark


    Thing is it can lead to a long term effect as customers aren’t sure whether borders will open or close and as it seems to be a spur of the moment decision by the states , no one is going to book travel interstate if there is a reasonable chance it will needs to be cancelled. If airlines need to start factoring this into their plans , they will need to contract in side to a far greater degree than they are considering now , with the knock on effect on the travel industry as a whole.
    It should be remembered airlines in Europe when faced with less stringent border closures basically shut up shop until such restrictions were lifted.

  • Richard


    Sweden gone the right way???!!! Their COVID-19 death rate is currently 570 per million Swedes, while Australia’s is 21.5 per million head of population. If we had their death rate, 14,540 Australians would have died from COVID-19. That’s 14,000 more than we have currently lost.
    However, I think the travel restrictions between states or territories with equally, very low infection rates could be eased. I don’t often agree with Alan Joyce!

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