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Regional and FIFO push Perth Airport above pre-COVID levels

written by Jake Nelson | March 1, 2024

Image: Perth Airport.

Perth Airport says it has seen its biggest-ever month for passenger movements, with 1.39 million passengers passing through its terminals in January 2024, fuelled mainly by regional travel.

The airport is the first major gateway in Australia to surpass total pre-pandemic passenger figures, though Melbourne in December outstripped its previous record for international capacity, and comes after a record 2023 for Perth with more than 15 million passengers in the calendar year.

In total, 405,399 international passengers, 507,330 interstate passengers, and 477,624 intrastate regional passengers used the airport in January 2024, compared to 453,602 international, 528,315 interstate, and 367,011 intrastate regional passengers in January 2019.

“The growth in passenger numbers is primarily driven by an ongoing strong performance in regional traffic along with the recovery of international and interstate passengers, and we are continuing to see our airline partners commit more capacity and routes in the Perth market,” said Perth Airport’s chief commercial and aviation officer, Kate Holsgrove.

“Following the dramatic impact that the pandemic had on aviation it’s fantastic to see that we are fully recovered and now experiencing growth.”


Regional traffic, including FIFO, has been the backbone of Perth’s recovery for some time, with the airport almost reaching 100 per cent of pre-pandemic passengers in the 2022–23 financial year off the back of surging regional numbers.

According to Holsgrove, the airport is undertaking several projects to accommodate current and future growth.

“These projects include expanding the international terminal, new domestic terminal facilities, a new runway, and multistorey car parks and have been part of the Master Plan to consolidate operations into the Airport Central precinct,” she said.

“Moving all flights to Airport Central will provide seamless connections between domestic and international services for all our airline partners and will build on the investment already undertaken in the area.

“We have already started significant works to expand the apron for additional aircraft at T2 to cater for our regional and domestic airline partners’ growth.”

Holsgrove added that the figures also support the case for Perth Airport’s new runway project, which it hopes will be operational by the end of the decade.

“With aviation in full flight we do see that our runway is at capacity in our morning and afternoon peak periods from Tuesday to Thursday and there are also significant constraints on other days of the week – highlighting the need for Perth’s New Runway,” she said.

“We want to continue to support Western Australia’s international and domestic tourism and the resources sector and its important FIFO workers, so we need to get on with construction to have the ability to grow with our State.”

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