THE Australian Airports Association is backing a new report released by the Business Council of Australia  highlighting the need to ease COVID-19 restrictions in line with the vaccine rollout.

AAA chief executive James Goodwin said the Shifting gear: three steps to safely, quickly and permanently reopen Australia in 2021 report reinforces the industry’s calls to end snap border closures.

“As more Australians start to receive the jab, there should be no excuses for the states and territories to suddenly close their borders,” Mr Goodwin said.

“Australians want to book travel in advance but they’re worried about being left stranded in another state or territory and being forced to isolate in hotel quarantine at their own cost if a flare up suddenly occurs.”

He said keeping borders open will rebuild confidence to travel, fill airports and aircraft with passengers and allow the aviation and tourism sectors to begin to stand on its own two feet again.

“Australians want to get their lives back and the vaccine rollout is quickly proving to be the confidence boost travellers and the airport sector so desperately need,” Mr Goodwin said.

He also said the report emphasised the need for a careful approach to re-opening Australia’s international border.

“Re-starting international travel will be crucial in getting the nation’s economy back on track,” Mr Goodwin said.

“Before the pandemic, overseas travel injected more than $60bn into Australia’s economy with more than 9m foreign travellers flying in to explore all that our country has to offer.

“Keeping COVID out and maintaining safety is a top priority but let’s start to look at a plan to re-open Australia to other COVID-safe countries where we already have strong links,” he said, adding this would continue economic momentum and assist in getting more of the 41,000 stranded Australians home from overseas.

The BCA also makes it clear businesses that rely on international travel, including airports, should be provided targeted Commonwealth Government assistance until international travel resumes.