We are ready for take-off
It’s been two years since restriction-free international travel has been possible to Western Australia, but Perth Airport is ready to greet passengers again as borders reopen at 12.01am on 3 March.
Perth Airport CEO Kevin Brown said that Western Australia had built an enviable reputation before Covid hit for securing new links to overseas destinations.
“In the 12 months prior to Covid, we had added more than 500,000 new international seats to the Perth market and were on track to crack 15 million passengers in total.
“Instead, Covid hit, and we lost almost nine million passengers, with international numbers plummeting by 97 per cent. Despite suffering significant ongoing financial losses, we have done the right thing by WA by keeping our runways and terminals operating. This has been crucial to the WA economy as it ensured our resources sector could keep operating.
“We’ve understood Western Australia’s more cautious approach to both international and domestic borders, but we can now - two years on – reopen safely.
“Aviation recovery will stimulate growth in our $12 billion tourism industry which supports 100,000 jobs, our $2 billion international student sector supporting 10,000 jobs, and our exporters who rely on passenger flights for 83 per cent of all air freight exports.
“But we have consistently said that it will not be as simple as flicking a switch and expecting airlines and passenger numbers to return to normal.
“The State Government’s new Reconnect WA package is a significant down-payment on rebuilding aviation, tourism and international students. But we are in a race with every other Australian state, and with other destinations in the Asia region, who are all working to attract international airline capacity.
“We have greatly appreciated our international airline partners who have stuck with us over the past two years and who have done the heavy lifting in terms of bringing Australians safely home from overseas.
“They have not had a lot of passengers but have continued to remain connected to Perth by bringing in important freight and allowing our exporters to get their products out.
“Passengers will notice some changes in the international terminal to keep travellers and visitors safe and at the same time improve customer service.
“This includes major upgrade to terminal gate, check-in and security infrastructure which we have invested in over the past two years and has taken an extraordinary amount of work behind the scenes.
“It will also take some time for our airline, retail and business partners to ramp up their businesses on airport so you may see still see some closed stores and delays in processes as start to return to normal.
“There are also some government processing requirements, so I encourage passengers to be patient as we work with the government agencies to keep you safe.
“Our terminals are ready and waiting and the efforts of the Perth Airport team have given government and the community confidence that air travel is Covid-safe. This will be essential to the recovery of the aviation sector as we hopefully move toward to a return to a new normal,” he continued.
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