The WA government is calling on new Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson to resolve the airline’s dispute with Perth Airport over its terminal move.
State Tourism Minister Rita Saffioti has reiterated calls for the Flying Kangaroo to shift all operations to the Airport Central precinct, which handles all international flights other than Qantas. The national carrier currently uses Terminal 3 for international services, 20 minutes away by car or bus.
“The change in leadership at Qantas provides a fresh opportunity to bring a renewed focus to the issue,” she told The Australian Financial Review.
“Consolidating services at the one location means better aviation capacity for Perth and WA – that’s good for the community, businesses and our economy.”
Qantas has long said the move to Airport Central was a long-term plan, while in the meantime Terminal 3’s limitations have affected its expansion plans. Last year the airline’s plans to add flights from Perth to Johannesburg and Jakarta were scuppered because of biosecurity issues.
In a statement, a Qantas spokesperson said the Flying Kangaroo does intend to broaden its Perth operations.
“One reason our London and Rome flights work so well is because the connections from international and domestic are seamless,” the spokesperson said.
“The deal we are working on with Perth Airport allows us to expand that in the short, medium and long term. We’ve made really good progress and hope to have this finalised in the weeks ahead.”
A spokesperson for the airport said talks with Qantas were continuing.
“The reality is that this is a complex and complicated commercial negotiation and while significant progress has already been made, it may still take some time to finally resolve it,” the spokesman told the AFR.
“Both sides remain committed to securing a mutually agreed outcome as soon as practicable.”
WA Premier Roger Cook, then Tourism Minister, earlier this year accused Qantas of “dawdling” over the move and saying it was hampering the state’s tourism industry.
“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,” he said.
“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.”