The Australian government has unveiled a A$715 million ($430 million) relief package for its aviation industry, which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Australian deputy prime minister Michael McCormack, who is also the minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development, announced the measures on 18 March, as he acknowledged the “unprecedented” challenges the industry was facing.

The relief package will involve fee waivers on aviation fuel excise, domestic airline operations Airservice charges, as well as regional aviation security charges.

The Australian government will also refund these charges already paid by domestic carriers, backdating them to 1 February.

Says McCormack: “Our airlines run on tight budgets at the best of times and these past few weeks have been particularly tough. I’ve been speaking with Australian airline executives every day and will continue to work with them to make sure they receive the support they need.”

Australia’s relief package follows deep capacity cuts by two of the country’s largest carriers – Qantas and Virgin Australia. Both carriers, which are cutting at least half of domestic capacity, have grounded a significant number of aircraft, as they reel from the impact of the outbreak and its related travel restrictions.

Apart from Australia, other countries such as Singapore and China have rolled out measures to cushion the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their respective aviation industries.