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WA to Qantas: Stop ‘dawdling’ over Perth Airport move

written by Jake Nelson | March 29, 2023

Perth Airport from above. (Image: Perth Airport/Instagram)

The Western Australian government has called on Qantas to stop “dawdling” over plans to relocate its international operations to Perth Airport’s Terminal 1.

WA Tourism Minister Roger Cook said Qantas’s slow pace in moving its international flights from the separated Terminals 3 and 4 to the consolidated Terminal 1 — from which all other international services operate — is keeping Perth Airport from being the “western gateway to Australia”.

“We’re a little bit frustrated with the dawdling that’s going on at the moment with Qantas,” he said.

“We can’t bring too many flights through that boutique international arrival hall, which we have at Terminal 4. It’s holding Western Australia back. It’s holding us back in terms of our tourism, our international business communities, and our international education opportunities.

“There are a range of issues which frustrate the rollout of the potential for Qantas flights flying in and out of Perth. I want to encourage Perth Airport and Qantas to resolve those issues as soon as possible.”


Terminals 3 and 4, at which Qantas has limited flight capacity, are some distance from Terminals 1 and 2 and from Airport Central, the location of Perth’s airport rail link. Perth Airport has been attempting to consolidate its commercial flights for almost four decades, with a $2.5 billion upgrade to Terminal 1 announced in 2019 to provide Qantas with enough space to move in.

While Qantas was meant to move to Terminal 1 by the end of 2025, COVID-19 scuttled those plans. A new date has yet to be agreed upon, with the ABC reporting the Flying Kangaroo would rather see Terminals 3 and 4 expanded instead.

This is not the first spat between the national carrier and the WA government, as during the extended border closures in 2021–22 Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce compared the policy to North Korea, which Premier Mark McGowan described as “over the top”.

In February 2022, Qantas resolved a long-running legal stoush with Perth Airport over fees, with both sides claiming victory over a $9 million judgment that was below the airport’s claimed amount, but more than Qantas was prepared to pay.

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