Perth Airport is currently preparing to see the return of thousands of passengers through its doors following the restart of both domestic and international flights, as border restrictions ease on 5 February.
It comes after Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan this week reaffirmed his government’s intentions to reopen the state’s iron borders on 5 February, despite growing calls to delay the move.
It will mark the first time that Perth Airport has welcomed floods of domestic and international passengers since the state first introduced harsh border controls in March 2020 – with only a number of short periods of relaxed domestic restrictions seen since then.
According to the airport’s CEO Kevin Brown, up to 8,000 passengers will pass through the airport on reopening day alone, with 42 domestic flights scheduled to touch down on 5 February.
Within two weeks of opening, Perth is expecting to see up to 80,000 passengers in total, and over 11,000 international arrivals.
Brown told 6PR Breakfast Radio on Monday that Perth is also gearing up to initially welcome around five international flights per day from the reopening date, with many flights already at capacity.
Initially, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qatar will be the only foreign airlines operating into WA, joined shortly after by Air New Zealand, with Brown applauding the international carriers that have continued to support the state despite the challenging operating environment.
“These international airlines have done the heavy lifting in bringing West Australians home and allowing freight to move into and out of Western Australia,” he told The West Australian.
“Due to the international passenger arrivals cap, they have been often been forced to fly in with only a handful of passengers or, in some cases, no passengers at all.
“To see them with flights that are either full or close to full is just incredible. They have made some huge financial sacrifices to keep flights coming in during COVID and I know all West Australians are grateful for their support,” he added.
Ahead of the restart, Brown said that the airport has introduced a slew of new COVID-safe practices, in line with state and federal guidelines.
“There will be some new processes in place for arriving passengers, so we are asking travellers and those waiting for them in the terminal to be patient as safety must come first. We need to keep everyone who works in or travels through our terminals COVID-safe,” he said.
“A full recovery for aviation is still a long way off, but this will be a really positive start after a really dire 22 months,” Brown added.
“I’m incredibly proud of the Perth Airport team for everything they’ve done during COVID to keep our runways and terminals open. There’s a real buzz amongst our team about the February 5 reopening.”
To safely enable quarantine-free travel into the state, new testing requirements for arrivals will be introduced to assist with the safe transition of COVID-19 in the WA community.
In order to support the quarantine-free return of both domestic and international arrivals, the WA government has implemented a number of requirements for arrivals.
All arrivals into the state will need to be double vaccinated against COVID-19, and international arrivals will be required to return three negative PCR test results – one within 72 hours prior to departure, the second within 48 hours of arriving into the state, and the third on day six.
Unvaccinated international arrivals will be required to quarantine for 14 days, either in a designated hotel or the future quarantine facility.
Meanwhile, all domestic travellers coming into WA will need to apply for a G2G Pass prior to beginning their journey to WA.
Testing requirements for domestic arrivals fall under three categories:
- interstate arrivals coming into WA or WA travellers leaving and returning on a trip that is six days or more will require a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure prior to travelling to WA, and undertake a negative PCR test within 48 hours of arrival;
- interstate arrivals coming into WA for five days or less will require a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure but are not required to have any tests on arrival into WA;
- WA travellers who leave then return to WA within five days or less do not need a test before arriving back into the state, but they will require a PCR test within 48 hours of returning.