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Virgin finalises new 10-year deal with Broome Airport

written by Hannah Dowling | February 8, 2022

Broome International Airport CEO Paul McSweeney and Virgin Australia’s deputy chief pilot Ben Rayner. (Credit: Tony McDonough/Virgin Australia)

Virgin Australia and Broome International Airport have finalised a new 10-year services agreement, as Virgin beefs up capacity to the Kimberley airport.

The new agreement replaces a previous five-year agreement between the two parties, and covers landing access, terminal fees, security screening, and future capital works as Broome Airport grows.

It comes after Virgin grew its market share on the Perth-Broome route from 34 per cent to over 40 per cent in 2021 alone, and now operates up to three daily return services on the route.

Broome International Airport CEO Paul McSweeney said the new agreement signifies Virgin’s commitment to Broome and the Kimberley more generally, and said he is “pleased that our relationship has been cemented for an extended period”.

“The agreement we have reached with Virgin Australia provides the certainty Broome International Airport requires to continue to invest in efficient passenger services and improved passenger amenities which will add to the passenger experience and further enhance our role as the region’s most important tourism entry point,” he said.

“Broome International Airport is the gateway to one of Australia’s most popular tourism destinations, and despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, its importance as a destination continues to increase,” said Virgin Australia’s chief strategy and transformation officer Alistair Hartley.

“Virgin Australia is committed to Broome and to Western Australia and is proud to do our part in connecting passengers with the north-west and supporting the local community and local economy.”

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According to the airport, more than 400,000 passenger transit through Broome Airport per year, with Perth-Broome noted as the second busiest air route in Australia in August 2021.

In October 2021, 47,000 passengers passed through Broome Airport, up 10,000 from the same month in 2020 while November and December passenger numbers averaged close to 30,000 for the two months even with the usual seasonal decline.

“Broome is one of Australia’s premiere tourist destinations, is a gateway to the wonders of the Kimberley and the airport is a crucial service provider to local industry, so agreements like the Virgin Australia ASA ensure the future of a critical service to the north-west economy and community,” McSweeney added.

“Passenger numbers in October made it our best month for eight years, and our best October ever, with further momentum continuing through to November with more than 33,000 passengers, which was 17 per cent up on November 2020.

“We know passengers want a good experience and value for money when they use our airport and our previous investments in terminal upgrades and the new agreement with Virgin Australia will help us to achieve that.”

Comments (5)

  • Adrian P

    says:

    Broome is a good location for a port of entry for most of regional Australia without having to travel through capital cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
    Alice Springs – Broome to Singapore and Dubai would be a better option than the present offering of having to fly to Darwin, Adelaide and Melbourne! to get all destinations north of the Timor Sea.

    • Rod Pickin

      says:

      Hi Adrian, good thinking but, runway length and average temps may well be a problem for flights direct beyond SIN plus, it would be hard to justify the costs involved in ground handling equipment and supporting specialist staff needed when only minimal services are scheduled.

      • Adrian P

        says:

        Hi Rod,
        A few years ago part of the Broome Master Plan was a proposal to relocate the airport.
        As long ago as 2001, Environmental Protection Authority, Perth, Western Australia, Bulletin 1017, June 2001
        “The EPA has considered the proposal by Broome International Airport Holdings to construct and operate a new international airport at a site approximately 12 km north-east of Broome townsite.”

        • Rod Pickin

          says:

          Hi again Adrian, I admire your support and enthusiasm for a “new” Broome International Airport and it may well happen but in my experience it may well be at least 20 years before anything happens. When you consider what problems our country faces at the moment, Broome has a very low priority. You would be aware of RAAF Curtain north from Broome, it has a major runway and thanks to friends in high places with a previous Govt. a domestic operator managed to arrange for a small terminal and taxiways etc to be built well away from the main area to service domestic ops. From my info, that didn’t last very long but, it could be an option but not full time. Cheers RodP

  • David Beech

    says:

    What about a commitment to lower fares.
    A lot of price gouging has gone on in the past.

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