Perth Airport is notorious for leaving both tourists and locals scratching their heads, trying to figure out which terminal they need.
The airport’s website helpfully states that the airport has two international terminals (T1 and T3) and four domestic terminals (T1, T2, T3 and T4). No joke.
While every other international airline operates out of T1, Qantas is doing its own thing, running both domestic and international services from the separate T3/T4, which are a 10-minute drive away and have limited flight capacity.
That’s holding Qantas back from launching new routes, like those it flagged to South Africa and Indonesia in 2022 but then scrapped due to capacity problems.
The Western Australian government and Perth Airport really want Qantas to pack up and move to T1, opening the door to more non-stop overseas flights and boosting tourism.
Qantas signed an in-principle agreement to move to T1 by 2025, but that was interrupted by the pandemic. Now, there’s no new date, which is throwing a wrench in the airport’s redevelopment plans and hurting WA’s tourism scene.
Back in 2019, Perth Airport announced a whopping $2.5 billion upgrade to T1, making room for Qantas and almost doubling yearly passenger numbers. In addition, a new train line recently opened which takes passengers from the city to the airport near T1 (but far from Qantas’ T3/T4).
So why won’t Qantas play ball? Well, it wants the airport to invest more in its current T3 setup, including adding new biosecurity measures, while T1 is being finished. This would let Qantas start flying to Indonesia and South Africa sooner.
Perth Airport doesn’t want to do that. And because of the standoff, the redevelopment of T1 has been delayed.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has big dreams for Perth, wanting to turn it into an important hub, but that can’t happen without reaching an agreement with the airport.
Meanwhile, the WA government is growing increasingly frustrated. Tourism Minister Roger Cook has been urging both parties to sort things out ASAP. He thinks this whole drama is holding back Western Australia in terms of tourism and business – which, of course, is true.
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