Retaining Domestic Airline Capability Program

What is the Retaining Domestic Airline Capability Program?

The Retaining Domestic Airline Capability Program is an initiative that provides domestic airlines with funding to ensure they have the capability to quickly resume services when restrictions ease.



The Retaining Domestic Airline Capability (RDAC) Program continues the Australian Government’s ongoing economic response to COVID-19, by providing essential support to domestic airlines during periods of Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer hot spot declarations to ensure it can continue to play an important role in Australia’s recovery from the pandemic.

The Retaining Domestic Airline Capability Program will provide time limited, targeted and proportionate payments to assist domestic airlines ensure they have the capability to quickly ramp up as aviation activity increases when domestic travel and border restrictions ease, which will, in turn, help drive broader economic recovery.

Domestic Regular Public Transport (RPT) airlines operating interstate services suffering reductions following a hot spot declaration, will be provided support to be able to stand up and stand down staff as network activity and demand changes, as well as ensuring that necessary aircraft maintenance and associated activities can occur.



The objectives of the Retaining Domestic Airline Capability Program are to:

  • ensure that the sector can quickly and effectively respond to sudden changes in activity and demand throughout recovery,
  • retain critical airline skills, and
  • preserve jobs across the domestic airline sector.

The intended outcome of the Grant is to ensure that Australia’s domestic airline industry has sufficient resilience to respond to any ongoing uncertainty throughout recovery, including through the retention of a core workforce with the capability and capacity to meet operational demands.



A total of up to $130 million over 12 weeks is available for the COVID-19 Disaster Grant. The amount of an individual grant will be determined by the size of an airline’s domestic operational front line workforce. Payments will be on a monthly basis, in arrears.


Eligible Projects

Grant funds must be used for grant activities agreed with the Department under the Grant Agreement.

The reasonable eligible activities must be directly attributable to the capability and readiness of the airline to respond to passenger services. This may include:

  • staffing (including payment of stood down staff)
  • training, skills, and certification
  • aircraft, other plant and machinery maintenance
  • aircraft storage

You can only spend the Grant on eligible expenditure you have incurred on eligible grant activities.

Costs that will be eligible for grant funding will be determined by the Department in the Grant Agreement and are the reasonable costs directly attributable to maintaining domestic airline capability. This may include:

  • employee support and retention payments to maintain your workforce, including retention and supplement payments for stood down staff or those working reduced hours, and payments to support staff undertaking essential training, for employees not receiving the COVID-19 Disaster Payment;
  • training to ensure workers maintain the necessary skills and currency necessary to return to their roles, when restrictions ease, activity resumes, and they return to duty;
  • maintain or prepare aircraft or machinery for a flight-ready condition; or
  • costs associated with storing aircraft or machinery, or bringing aircraft or machinery out of storage.

The Delegate makes the final decision on what is eligible expenditure and may give additional guidance on eligible expenditure from time to time if required.

You must incur the expenditure on your grant activities between the start date and end or completion date for your grant agreement for it to be eligible.


Eligible Applicants

To be eligible you must:

  • have an RPT Air Operators Certificate (AOC)
  • demonstrate that you have been operating interstate RPT services in a market where the Commonwealth CMO has declared a hot spot
  • show that you were operating on the impacted route prior to the Commonwealth CMO hot spot declaration
  • show that activity on the airline’s network has declined by at least 30 per cent following the Australian Government CMO declaring a hot spot where the service originates or terminates
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be registered for the purposes of GST
  • have an account with an Australian financial institution
  • be one of the following entity types:
    • a company incorporated in Australia
    • a company incorporated by guarantee
    • an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust
    • an incorporated association
    • a partnership
    • a joint application
    • an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and /or Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006.

A joint application can be submitted on behalf of multiple applicants. Where a joint application is being made a lead applicant must be selected to apply for the Grant.



Applications close 31 December 2021


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