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Perth Airport Drops $3b On New Qantas Terminal

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Tom Goward | 31/05/2024

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Qantas and Perth Airport have decided to kiss and make up, resolving a long-running dispute over the Flying Kangaroo’s move to a single terminal complex.

Currently, all flights depart from Terminals 1 and 2 (Airport Central) on the eastern side of Perth’s runway. Although, Qantas and Jetstar domestic flights never made the move, and are still stuck in the old airport building on the western side of the runway. Passengers navigating between Qantas’ garden shed and the main airport currently enjoy an eight-kilometre bus ride.

But the remedy to this issue and others is now on the horizon, as Perth Airport begins a $5 billion capital investment program. This includes $3 billion for new terminal facilities at Airport Central and a new parallel runway. The remainder is set aside for two multi-level carparks, major access roadworks and Perth’s first airport hotel.

The deal settles all existing issues between Perth Airport and Qantas, with the two companies previously involved in a drawn-out legal battle over airport fees. Meanwhile, in 2023, West Australian Premier Roger Cook accused Qantas of “holding Western Australia back,” by refusing to make the move to Airport Central. That move had been in the works since before 2016, when the airline signed an agreement to relocate its international operations by the end of 2025.

Timeline For Qantas New Terminal At Perth Airport

In a message sent to Qantas staff this morning, Group CEO Venessa Hudson was pleased to put the past in the past.

“Today’s agreement has literally been years in the making and resolves several historic commercial disputes we’ve had with the airport,” she said.

Publicly, Hudson was pleased to reveal the largest airport infrastructure deal in Qantas’ history.

“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,” said Ms Hudson. Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson.

Short-Term Upgrades Unlock More Flights And New Routes

Before Qantas’ big move across the runway, Perth Airport will invest in the Red Roo’s current home, T3 and T4. These interim upgrades will allow for additional capacity while new terminals are built at the Airport Central precinct.

The expansion of T3’s international wing will also ensure Qantas can accommodate its incoming Airbus A350s. These jets are scheduled for delivery in 2026 as part of Project Sunrise, which will see passengers flying non-stop for up to 22 hours from Australia to destinations including New York and London. The A350 will eventually take over the flagship Perth-London route, currently operated by Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

New Qantas Terminal For Perth Airport

Gates are also freed up by relocating Jetstar domestic services to Terminal 2, in September 2024. This will also make for smoother connections with the budget carrier, which already operates internationally from Terminal 1, and will add Perth-Singapore and Perth-Phuket flights in August, with Perth-Bangkok following in September.

That move will make life hard for Jetstar passengers with Qantas lounge access, with those lounges nearly out of reach. That is unless you are prepared to clear security twice and take a 15-minute bus ride between terminals.

With one less airline and added gates, Qantas will be able to offer new routes and higher frequencies. Perth-Auckland and Perth-Johannesburg flights are already planned from mid-2025, although Qantas says these are “subject to meeting border agency requirements,”.

Qantas route possibilities from Perth Western Hub Project

Qantas To Join Perth’s Airport Central

In return for Perth Airport spending $5 billion on new facilities, Qantas and Jetstar will make the move to a new terminal attached to the existing Terminal 1 in Perth’s Airport Central precinct. The new space is expected to open in 2031 and comes in addition to two multi-storey carparks and an airport hotel.

New Qantas Terminal For Perth Airport

Once opened, every commercial airline operating in Perth will depart from a single hub, significantly enhancing the passenger experience. The new terminal is set to offer a world-leading travel experience, with seamless domestic and international transfers, as well as state-of-the-art check in and bag drop facilities. There’s also a multi-lounge precinct, which Qantas will no doubt make an appearance in.

Qantas and Jetstar plan to add 4.4 million seats to and from Perth annually by the time the new terminal opens in 2031, and as part of the agreement, Qantas will construct a new engineering hangar in the Airport Central precinct

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Tom Goward

Chief Operating Officer & Aviation Nerd at Flight Hacks

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