Perth Airport is an Australian domestic and international airport located south of Guildford, Western Australia, and is the major commercial airport servicing Western Australia's capital city, Perth. It is the fourth busiest airport in Australia and plays a strategic role due to its location – servicing many Australian, Asian, Indian Ocean, Pacific locations, as well as Johannesburg, South Africa and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The airport has seen strong passenger growth in the last few years, primarily due to the prolonged mining boom and the increase in services from international budget carriers. In the first half of the financial year 2007/2008 passenger numbers increased by 13.34%
The domestic terminal is 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) from the Perth CBD, whilst the international terminal is 17 kilometres (10.6 mi) from the CBD. The airport is located near major arterial roads, Great Eastern Highway and Tonkin Highway. The domestic terminal is also accessible from the city by public transport buses, and transfers between terminals are available by use of an inter-terminal transfer bus or taxi.
Perth Airport has recently announced a redevelopment plan that will facilitate the recent growth in passenger numbers. However, Perth Airport CEO Brad Geatches, has confirmed that this redevelopment would only provide "C" class facilities, as defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). For example, initially Perth Airport announced the installation of 45 aero-bridges, but have scaled this back to 25. The State Government has refused to enter into a funding agreement with Perth Airport, despite the former Premier of Western Australia, Alan Carpenter, openly criticising the airport's chronic over crowding and sub-standard facilities.
Prior to the opening of the Perth Airport, civilian air services for the city were provided from airfields located in Maylands (in operation since 1924), as well as on the city's foreshore at Langley Park. By the end of the 1930s, it became clear that the Maylands Aerodrome was limited in the size and speed of aircraft it was able to handle thus causing them to seek an alternative site for a future airport.
Site selection and preparation of the original plans was undertaken by Mr N M Fricker of the Department of Civil Aviation. In 1938, land was selected and purchased for the new aerodrome. The site selected in what was at the time Guildford, was an area of land granted by Governor James Stirling to local man John Scott, which later became the long disused Dunreath Golf Course.
A plaque located on a roadside wall of the old International terminal remains in permanent memory of Scott:
Perth Airport stands on part of an area granted originally by Governor James Stirling to John Scott. A yeoman farmer from Lanarkshire, Scotland who arrived in Western Australia in March 1831, after a voyage of about 90 days in the schooner Eliza of 343 tons. He came at the invitation of the governor, to establish and maintain a bloodstock farm for the colony. He made his home near
Guildford, using the Swan River to reach the farm in this area.
In recognition of his services Governor Stirling granted him lease of an area at Bunbury, where he became the first settler in 1838.
Remember him as one who helped to bring prosperity to this land.|||Text of roadside plaque in memory of John Scott.
The move was agreed to by the government of the day, as the larger types of aircraft of the day being operated by the two airlines could simply not be handled at Maylands, not withstanding the small grass airfield, lack of passenger facilities, and approaches being difficult due to surrounding industrial infrastructure. Using Douglas DC-3 aircraft, ANA flew the first commercial service from the aerodrome to Adelaide. On June 17, 1944, Qantas made its inaugural flight to Ceylon via Exmouth using a modified Liberator bomber, arriving in Perth on June 3, 1944 having been released to the airline by the British Government.
The Guildford Aerodrome as it was then known was at best only a basic airfield. On a large open airfield with plenty of space, an unobtrusive control tower was hidden away amongst a collection of buildings inherited from the wartime operations at the site. The then Department of Civil Aviation inherited a large number of operating vehicles from the former military occupants, including an assortment of vehicles including "Blitz" wagons, Dodge command cars and weapon carriers, large trucks and various makes of fire tenders, jeeps and ambulances. Boarding aircraft at Guildford was described as being a bit like boarding a bus given the lack of passenger facilities at the time.
In 1948, the Horrie Miller owned MacRobertson Miller Aviation Co. (MMA) relocated from Maylands to Guildford. followed by newly-formed government airline Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) on December 2 of that same year, operating Douglas C-54 Skymasters on its Perth - Melbourne - Sydney route. Due to the lack of road transportation across the Nullabor Plain, it was at this time that Guildford became the scene of very busy cargo operations. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and manufactured goods were being flown from east to west and back again.
The airport only received international status and was renamed to Perth International Airport in 1952. Officiated by the then Federal Minister for Civil Aviation, Hubert Anthony, the official ceremony for the renaming took place on the main apron in front of a converted Bellman hangar used by TAA as their passenger terminal. At the time, a new international terminal building was under construction but had not been completed in time for the ceremony. This new terminal was being constructed using steel and cladding recycled from American-built military quonset buildings being dismantled and shipped over from Manus Island.
It was also on this day that Qantas commenced its Wallaby service using the Constellation Charles Kingsford Smith\" (VH-EAD) from Sydney to South Africa via Western Australia, the Cocos Islands, and Mauritius.
It was at this time the airport began to experience the full effects of the jet age revolution. As the aircraft of the day grew faster and more demanding due to their sophistication, facilities at the airport continued to improve to accommodate them. By the mid 1960s the airport commenced seeing its first pure jet engine aircraft, commencing with a Boeing 727 in 1964, and the Douglas DC-9 in 1967. It was at this time that the airport was one of the few major airports in the country which operated without curfews, and due to the increased number and frequency of flights operating from the airport it gave birth to what was then referred to as the the midnight horror or red-eye special, known in more recent history as the red-eye flight.
The removal of the steel structure made way for the construction of an entirely new combined domestic and international passenger terminal, constructed on the Northern side of the airfield. It was in 1962 that airlines were able to move from their hangars into a new combined passenger terminal, designed by the Commonwealth Department of Works and opened just in time to handle 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games traffic increases. The new combined terminal was opened that same year by then Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator Shane Paldridge, and was located in an area positioned between Terminals 2 and 3 and currently used for as the crew base for both Qantas and Skywest, and offices for airlines and support firms.
From 1962 onwards, both the domestic and international passenger operations at the airport were provided by a single terminal. However, by the arrival of the Boeing 747 on September 3, 1971, the existing terminal had reached its capacity, and modeling of future passenger numbers showed it would be unable to handle any further increases in passenger demand.
In November 1980, the Federal Transport Minister, Ralph Hunt, announced that a new international terminal would be built in Perth at a cost of $26 m AUD (1980). Design of the new International Terminal commenced in 1982, with one of the key principles of the design being the allowance for easy future expansion as the needs of the airport dictated. The project called for the construction of a new terminal, apron, airside roads, access roads, car parks and other passenger facilities.
Construction of the new International Terminal and control tower commenced in March 1984 on the south-eastern side of the airfield. In 1984, the road leading to the new terminal, Horrie Miller Drive was named in honour of local aviation pioneer Horrie Miller. The terminal was officially opened on October 25, 1986 by then Prime Minister Bob Hawke, with the new terminal receiving passengers just days after. The newly built control tower was the tallest in Australia at its time of construction, and remained so for a number of years.
Upon completion, the terminal was able to process up to five Boeing 747 aircraft per hour and accommodated a peak passenger volume of 6,000 passengers per hour. twenty years later, in the 12 months to June 2006 the terminal processed over 2.027 million passengers, surpassing a 1996 projection of 1.016 million passengers in that period.
At this time also, airline operators Qantas and Ansett set about on ambitious capital works programs to construct new domestic terminals for their respective airlines on the northern side of the terminal, where they still stand to this day.
In 2001, after the financial collapse of Ansett Airlines, the Ansett terminal became a multi-user terminal, catering for flights from former Ansett-subsidiary Skywest, as well as Virgin Blue and now charter airlines Alliance Airlines and Ozjet.
From 2003 to 2004, the International terminal underwent major internal refurbishments to provide an increased array of passenger services, including increased space for duty free stores and food and beverage concession stands. Further upgrades valued at $AUD25 Million (2006) were made to the terminal across 2005 and 2006 which added an additional 2,500 m² of floor space, additional check-in counters, and an improved baggage handling and screening system.
The airport commemorated its 60th anniversary in 2004, with an event that opened the new Taxiway Sierra, a new taxiway supporting larger aircraft such as the Boeing B747, Airbus A340, and potentially the Airbus A380 to operate at the airport.
Flights are serviced by two runways – the main 03/21 runway, 3444 m long and 06/24, 2163 m long.
In March 1988, surface observations were moved to the recently-vacated old airport tower on the northern side of the airfield (near what is now Terminal 3). The Ivy Street location was retained for a time for radar services and the launching and tracking of weather balloons. In October 1997, all operations from the Ivy Street Office and Old Control Tower were transferred to a newly constructed office on the Northern Perimeter Road in Belmont, in the north-eastern corner of the airfield.
Perth Approach Control then guides the aircraft to their final approach. Once an aircraft is established on its final approach, control is handed over to Perth Tower.
|Year||Domestic Passengers||International Passengers||Total Passengers|
After a 10-month project, a reconstructed cross runway was opened on October 21, 2005. The upgrades involved significant strengthening works and enlargement of turning nodes to accommodate regular operations by wide bodied aircraft, including the Airbus A380.
The 2024 masterplan calls for the completion of a rail link that will connect with the Midland Line between Bayswater Station and Ashfield Station at the Tonkin Highway. The proposed rail link will continue above ground along Tonkin Highway to Great Eastern Highway where it is believed to go underground along Brearley Avenue and to the terminals in operation at completion of the line. A rail link to the airport was originally proposed in the 1990s by nearby local government bodies, however the proposal was not followed through at the time.
As of May 2007, Airport Management have increased discussion about bringing forward the timelines for completion of the master plan objectives. Primary reasons for this are the significant increases in domestic passenger traffic, brought about by increased mining activities in the state's north west region. Current statements by the Airport's management suggest that a majority of the master plan objectives including the consolidation of the domestic and international terminals on the southern side of the airfield may be planned as early as 2011.
In August 2007, Qantas announced that it was preparing to commit $50 m AUD for upgrades to its domestic terminal. These plans would include the addition of three check in desks, one additional jetway, general renovations and security improvements. Airport owner Westralia Airports Corporation also announced their intent to undertake works valued at $20 m AUD, that would include the delivery of 1300 new parking bays, as well as improved road access to terminals two and three. These upgrades are planned for a life of five years, by which both Qantas and the airport owner hope to have completed construction of new terminal facilities identified within the master plan.
In 2008, Westralia Airports has announced their intention to complete a A$1 billion upgrade project which addresses key elements of the masterplan. The announced plans will see the domestic and international terminal merge, as flagged within the original plans for the construction of the international terminal, a project likely to be completed within 7 years.
The first phase involves the delivery of a facility known as Terminal WA, scheduled to be completed by 2011. This terminal is designed to serve as a facility for flights servicing regional Western Australia and would relieve pressure on the existing Terminals 2 and 3. Already to assist this, improved road links between the international (T1) and domestic terminals (T2, T3, General aviation) are already under construction.
Phases two and three of the works will see the merger of the domestic terminals into the international terminals. A proposed 40 additional aerobridges will be constructed, delivering capabilities to service larger airframes including the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787.
|Rank||Airport||Passengers handled||% Change|
|1||Singapore Changi Airport||929,257||13.5|
|2||Dubai International Airport||328,259||40.5|
|3||Kuala Lumpur International Airport||216,052||7.9|
|4||Ngurah Rai International Airport||181,152||35.2|
|5||Hong Kong International Airport||152,198||3.5|
|Rank||Airport||Passengers handled||% Change|
|AirAsia X||Kuala Lumpur [begins November 2]||1|
|Air New Zealand||Auckland||1|
|Alliance Airlines||Karratha, Leinster, Mount Keith, Port Hedland||3|
|Cathay Pacific||Hong Kong||1|
|Garuda Indonesia||Denpasar/Bali, Jakarta||1|
|Jetstar Airways (Domestic)||Melbourne-Avalon, Melbourne-Tullamarine||2|
|Jetstar Airways (International)||Denpasar/Bali [begins December], Jakarta [begins October 30], Singapore [begins December 2]||1|
|Malaysia Airlines||Kuala Lumpur||1|
|Maroomba Airlines||Mount Magnet||3|
|National Jet Systems (International)||Christmas Island, Cocos Island||1|
|National Jet Systems (Domestic)||Brockman, West Angeles, Barrow Island, Barimunya, Coondewanna, Ravensthorpe, Learmonth, Murrin Murrin, Paraburdoo, Telfer||2|
|Network Aviation||Leinster, Morawa||3|
|Pacific Blue||Denpasar/Bali [begins 1 December]||1|
|Qantas (International)||Denpasar/Bali [ends December 2008], Hong Kong, Jakarta [ends December 2008], Singapore, Tokyo-Narita||1|
|Qantas (Domestic)||Adelaide, Brisbane, Broome, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Melbourne-Tullamarine, Port Hedland (starts February 2009), Sydney ||2|
|Royal Brunei Airlines||Bandar Seri Begawan||1|
|Skippers Aviation||Laverton, Leonora, Leinster, Meekatharra, Mount Magnet, Wiluna||3|
|Skywest (International)||Denpasar/ Bali||1|
|Skywest (Domestic)||Albany, Argyle, Broome, Carnarvon, Cloud Break, Darwin, Esperance, Exmouth, Geraldton, Kalbarri, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Kununurra, Melbourne-Tullamarine [ends November 3], Monkey Mia, Newman, Port Hedland||3|
|South African Airways||Johannesburg||1|
|Thai Airways International||Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Phuket||1|
|Tiger Airways Australia||Adelaide [begins March 1], Melbourne-Tullamarine||3|
|Virgin Blue||Adelaide, Brisbane, Broome, Karratha [begins October 21], Newman [begins October 21], Melbourne-Tullamarine, Sydney||3|
Charter and mining Airlines
These airlines provide regular charters for mining companies in Western Australia.
Freight and cargo
These airlines provide regular all cargo flights to Perth.
After discussion with ATC and changes in wind conditions, the aircraft was then offered the use of Runway 06/24. However, on commencement of touchdown, it experienced a roll to the right. This was corrected by the pilot, but the aircraft still touched down with a left-wing-low attitude causing the engine to strike the runway surface for a length of 30 m that commenced at 490 m from the runway threshold.
The cause was determined to be prevailing weather conditions which often result in low-level turbulence, also known as wind shear, largely due to local geography, with rolling winds caused by the nearby Darling Scarp. The incident has resulted in efforts to improve weather monitoring systems around the airport.
The first was British Airways Flight 9 which was en route to the airport on June 24, 1982, had volcanic ash sucked into its engines and sustained engine fires. The aircraft was diverted and landed safely in Jakarta, Indonesia. No one was injured, but the aircraft was significantly damaged .
The second was Qantas Flight 72, an Airbus A330 inbound from Singapore on October 7, 2008. The aircraft rapidly lost altitude causing 74 passengers and crew to sustain injuries after being thrown up towards the cabin ceiling. The pilots made an emergency landing at Learmonth Airport, near Exmouth in northern Western Australia with the aircraft sustaining no damage to the airframe.