WA visitor numbers up 15% – airport

PERTH airport has reported record growth in passenger numbers in the September quarter, with a total of 2.2 million people flying in and out of the airport during the three-month period. This was an increase of 15 per cent on the same quarter of 2006, a growth rate airport chief executive Brad Geatches said was unmatched in other major city airports across the nation. The growth was led by international passenger numbers, which were up 22 per cent to 612,699. Domestic passenger numbers also rose, up 13 per cent to 1.6 million. “The strong WA economy continues to have a positive effect on our results,” Mr Geatches said. “A number of airlines have significantly increased their seat capacity in the period, including Emirates, Garuda, Thai Airways, Air Mauritius and new entrant Tiger Airways, boosting the international figures. “With Tiger Airways commencing domestic services to Perth in November and Jetstar’s recent announcement of an additional service, also starting in November, we expect further domestic growth as Western Australians take advantage of lower fares to the east coast.” Mr Geatches said Westralia Airports Corporation, the operator of Perth Airport, was progressing plans for a major redevelopment of the airport, which has been criticised for increasing congestion, lack of parking and falling service standards. Its options include closing the domestic terminal and expanding facilities at the international terminal. “We are investing in airfield, terminals and car parking to continue to meet the burgeoning demand for airport services,” Mr Geatches said. Recent initiatives include a new long-term car park at the domestic terminal, which has doubled the number of long-term car bays. In September, Qantas announced a $50 million upgrade of its domestic terminals at Perth Airport, and Westralia Airports Corporation is making similar sized investments in infrastructure over the next 12 months.

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