27/01/2009 - 09:06

Interstate airports for South West

27/01/2009 - 09:06

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A new study has revealed Western Australia's South West region could support interstate air services within two to five years.

A new study has revealed Western Australia's South West region could support interstate air services within two to five years.

CAPA Consulting and Tourism Futures International provided the report to Tourism WA, the Department for Planning and Infrastructure and the Shires of Busselton and Augusta-Margaret River.

Executive Director Aviation Development Rick Thomas said Tourism Western Australia welcomed the new report about potential demand for air services to a South West regional airport.

"The key finding by consultants is that the region has the potential to support interstate air services," Mr Thomas said.

"However, to ensure ongoing sustainability of the service, we need to continue developing the region's tourism market.

"The study indicates we need to boost interstate and international visitor numbers by around 50 per cent, and we would hope to achieve this within five years.

"Infrastructure is also an important part of the plan and the study shows that the current Busselton airport could be a potential site if a number of impediments - such as runway length - are overcome.

"If impediments at the current Busselton airport can't be overcome, the study recommends that a greenfield site be identified."

Mr Thomas said if introduced, interstate air services in the South West would most likely best suit a low-cost carrier.

"The consultants spoke with representatives from a range of airlines during this study and they were all generally positive about the potential for services in the South West," Mr Thomas said.

"While no decision has been made, the next step will be for the State and local governments to consider these findings, and look at the technical and cost implications of getting the required infrastructure in place.

"We must make sure any new air services to the region can be maintained in the long term."

The study is jointly funded by the Busselton Shire Council, the Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council and Tourism WA.

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