5 June 2024

Perth travel turbocharged with $3bn airport terminal plan as Qantas spreads wings

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Airport artwork

Concept art of the new dedicated terminal that should be open by 2031. Image: Perth Airport.

Perth Airport and Qantas have announced a commercial agreement under which the airline will move all of its and subsidiary Jetstar’s flights to and from Perth to a dedicated new terminal.

Under the 12-year agreement, the airport will invest $3 billion in the new terminal and a new parallel runway as part of a wider $5 billion capital works program at the airport.

The airline’s relocation will see domestic and international flights concentrated at the new Y-shaped terminal, which will be at the northern end of the current Terminal 1 in the Airport Central precinct.

The new runway, 21L/03R, will be east of Airport Central and parallel to the current 21R/03L main runway, and will be capable of supporting international widebody services. As part of the agreement, Qantas also plans to build a new engineering hangar in the Airport Central precinct to support its increased operations.

The airline says it plans to add 4.4 million seats annually to its Perth services by 2031 when the new terminal is expected to open. It says it will significantly increase inbound tourism to the West and provide more travel options to Asia, Africa, India and Europe.

The airport’s capital works program will also involve additional investment in Terminals 3 and 4 on the western side of the airport, from where Qantas domestic and Jetstar services currently operate. Jetstar will relocate its domestic services to Terminal 2 from September 2024 before moving to the new terminal at Airport Central when complete.

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Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson said the agreement was the largest airport infrastructure deal in the airline’s history.

“It will enable us to create a world-class western hub and significantly expand our domestic and international services over the short, medium and long term,” she said.

“Not only will it allow us to bring hundreds of thousands more travellers to and through Western Australia each year, it will also make it easier for overseas tourists to connect to more destinations across Australia.

“Perth-London and Perth-Rome are two of the most popular flights on our international network, which gives us confidence in our strategy to ramp up WA flying over the next few years as we receive new aircraft and grow our fleet.

“The additional flying will see us create an estimated 700 new jobs in Western Australia across pilots, crew, engineering and airport staff.

“With the launch of Perth-Paris in July and Jetstar’s new services into Asia starting later this year, we have a pipeline of growth underway that will mean Perth is on track to become our second-biggest international gateway behind Sydney.”

map of new airport terminal

A map of Perth Airport showing the planned new terminal, aprons, taxiways and runway in blue. Image: Perth Airport.

Perth Airport CEO Jason Waters said the agreement was a special moment in the history of aviation in Western Australia as it would unlock the future for both Perth Airport and Qantas.

“Qantas has some ambitious growth plans for its operations in Perth and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to push ahead together to realise this potential,” he said.

“Western Australians will now see the largest-ever private investment in an infrastructure development in Perth – a once-in-a-lifetime investment program that will completely change the face of Perth Airport over the next decade.

“Perth Airport’s plans will see more than $5 billion invested in delivering new terminal facilities, a new parallel runway, two multi-storey carparks with associated roadworks, and our first airport hotel.

“This will create thousands of construction and ongoing jobs, underpin the future growth of the FIFO-based resources sector, generate new tourism and trade opportunities, and deliver enormous ongoing benefits to Western Australia.

“Most importantly, it will deliver one airport for the people of Western Australia which will host all flight services, giving them a seamless, world-class travel experience.”

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WA Premier Roger Cook welcomed the announcement, saying it cemented Perth as the Western Gateway to Australia.

“By opening up new flight routes and adding millions of extra passenger seats each year, we’re positioning WA as a major tourist destination in the region,” he said.

“It will turn Perth Airport into a world-class travel hub for visitors and for Western Australians, and put Perth onto the world stage for travellers.

“It’s part of our plan to diversify WA’s economy, create long-term jobs and set our state up for the future.”

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