Qantas has stepped up its calls for the opening of Australian state and territory borders by announcing a petition the airline hopes its employees will also sign.

The Australian carrier’s petition titled “Safely Open Our Borders” is calling for a shared definition of what constitutes a “Covid hotspot” to be used when states make the decision to close their borders.

Qantas says it has stood down more than 20,000 employees since April “due to border closures”.

“We’re calling for decisions on domestic border closures to be risk-assessed against an agreed set of medical criteria and a shared definition of what constitutes a Covid hotspot,” reads a statement from the carrier on its website.

Earlier this month, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce issued a warning for Australia’s tourism industry, saying that tourism-related businesses will collapse if state borders continue to remain closed.

“At the moment there seems to be no fact-based criteria [about] which borders are opening and closing,” he said at a CAPA Centre for Aviation industry summit, according to a report from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Joyce also said that state premiers need to start defining Covid “hotspots” so that businesses will have certainty when borders will open and when they will close, added the report.

According to the same The Sydney Morning Herald report, Joyce also said businesses related to tourism in certain holiday destinations might not survive.

“We have to worry because if this keeps on going the way it is … those little businesses in Cairns and Tasmania will not survive this. They can’t hold their breath. Qantas can – and Qantas can last for a good few years – but they can’t,” said Joyce, according to the report.

The statement came weeks after Qantas revealed in its 2020 financial year results that its profits had dropped by 91 per cent in what the Australian carrier called “the most challenging period in its long history”.

Last month, the airline also announced plans to cut 6,000 jobs due to the coronavirus crisis. Around 4,000 of its 6,000 planned job cuts are expected to be finalised by the end of this month.

Qantas profits drop by 91 per cent due to coronavirus crisis

The airline’s petition, titled “Safely Reopen Our Borders” is can be found on its website.