The City of Karratha has cut the ribbon on its new $35 million airport upgrade that includes capacity to receive international flights, an expanded departures area and space for a premium airline lounge.
Following the redevelopment – part of the council’s $100 million capital investment program at the airport that has included work on upgrading the tarmac, power supply and a water recycling program – Karratha Airport will have the capacity to handle 1.2 million passengers a year.
That gives it plenty of room for growth given currently about 800,000 travellers a year use the airport.
During the peak of the mining boom, Karratha boasted direct services to Australia’s east coast capitals as people flew in to work on the large resources projects in the area.
However, as the resources sector has transitioned from construction to production, those flights have been dropped, leaving mainly service to Perth, as well as charter and helicopter services.
City of Karratha chief executive Chris Adams said the focus of the council in the period ahead would be to work with airlines to grow the number of destinations from the airport, particularly on international services and a resumption of nonstops to the major capitals on the other side of the country.
“Our community has been telling us loud and clear that they want more connectivity including direct flights to the east coast and international connections,” Adams said in a statement.
“We now have the capacity to attract international flights to the region, not just to service our residents but also to help in the growth of the Pilbara as a unique tourism destination.
“The airport team is also working to entice the airlines to build premium passenger lounges to service the numerous frequent flyers who are frequent visitors to Karratha Airport.”
The new terminal includes dual lane security screening, eight arrival and departure gates with seating for 700 people, a upgraded checkin area and expanded baggage collection facility.
City of Karratha Major Peter Long said the council was keen to raise awareness about the Pilbara region as a “largely undiscovered tourist gem” highlighted by Karajini National Park, the Montebello Islands and the town of Cossack.
The official opening of the airport terminal was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss and Western Australian Minister for Transport Dean Nalder.