A massive three-year $515 million program to overhaul Perth Airport is set to begin in July, which will include upgrading terminals to handle the Airbus A380 and building a new ‘fly in, fly out’ terminal dedicated to workers heading from Perth to the state’s resource-rich north-west.
Dubbed Terminal WA, and designed in consultation with BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, the facility will be built on a single level so that workers can arrive from interstate and head out on regional flights without having to move between floors.
Some 36,000 passengers employed in the resources industry transit through Perth each week. The terminal will initially have parking for 20 aircraft but eventually accommodate up to 35 planes.
Terminal WA will host low-cost and regional airlines with 16 check-in counters
The new Perth Airport will operate as a single domestic and international facility, with a shared domestic/international pier so that carriers can more easily move aircraft between domestic and international markets.
Also on the drawing board is a new pier which will become home for Virgin Blue’s domestic and international flights (shown below).
The international terminal will include A380-friendly airbridges – although Perth’s runway is A380-ready the terminal itself currently lacks the ability to get passengers on and off the superjumbo, which has been noted as posing a bit of a revenue problem for carriers. Three of Perth Airport’s current carriers – Emirates, Qantas and Singapore Airlines – include A380s in their fleet.
The customs, quarantine and baggage reclaim areas will be tripled in size, while the international terminal car park will be expanded from its current single-level to a multi-storey parking area.
The international terminal will be designed by Australian-based international architectural practice Woods Bagot, whose work will already be familiar to many frequent flyers – they designed the flagship Qantas International First Lounge in Sydney and Qantas’ Business Lounge in Adelaide, along with a business class lounge in Terminal One of Singapore’s Changi Airport.
Both Qantas and Virgin Blue are investing heavily in transcontinental services between the east and west coasts.
Virgin Blue will launch daily Sydney-Perth services on May 26, and has signed a codeshare deal with WA regional airline SkyWest to provide through-connections from Perth to cities including Albany, Broome, Carnarvon, Esperance, Exmouth, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie.
Qantas is upping the ante with a daily Boeing 747-400 service between Sydney and Perth from Monday May 30, and earlier this year opened a new route between Perth and Exmouth with a thrice-weekly QantasLink Boeing 717 jet service.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.