The owners of Canberra Airport want to bar New South Wales residents from flights by insisting on an ACT driving licence before boarding.
Managing director Stephen Byron has written to the premiers of Tasmania and South Australia to try to persuade them to allow flights from Canberra with the assurance that the airport isn't a back-door for the virus from Sydney.
His letter to the South Australian authorities says there could be a "requirement for all travellers to show ACT or SA residency by presentation of a current drivers licence.
"This would be verified by airline staff at the Boarding Gate. We suspect that your authorities would also check arriving passengers for all necessary paperwork."
Mr Byron is trying to stave off what he calls "putting the airport to sleep" but has been frustrated by the closure of state borders and the consequent collapse of passenger numbers.
On Wednesday, only 106 passengers were due to depart from a terminal with a capacity of 22,000 passengers a day.
On Tuesday, only 39 passengers flew in and 47 passengers flew out.
On Saturday only 19 passengers flew in and 62 flew out.
Mr Byron's efforts have been frustrated because states with few cases of COVID-19 argue that Canberra would be a route for infections from New South Wales to get in.
Mr Byron is now proposing that the airport block people from New South Wales by insisting on the ACT driving licence.
He said he recognised that this would be tough on people from Queanbeyan and other parts of NSW neighbouring the ACT.
He's now working towards keeping the airport going except for on Saturdays until October 1 and then taking stock.
One option if passenger numbers don't improve is mothballing the terminal - in effect, shuttering it until the emergency is over, perhaps with the development of a vaccine.
"One of the reasons we continue to shut down and gradually put the business to sleep is that there is no plan, there is no pathway and there is no hope," Mr Byron said.
"How do you plan for a future when there is no prospect of state borders reopening before Christmas? This is going to stay the same for months and months, and there's no way to change it."
He is also trying to persuade health authorities that what he calls a Stage 5 lockdown for his industry is far too severe.
He cites Victoria where, even with the uncontrolled community transmission of the disease, the construction industry was allowed to operate at 25 per cent capacity.
He can't see why the aviation industry should be treated so much more harshly, particularly in places like Canberra where cases have been few.