The Perth Airport Viewing Area is now officially open to the public, and it is FREE!
In recognition of the contribution made by the Aviation Association of WA Inc (AAWA) in the later stages of the new Perth Airport Viewing Area, AAWA President David Eyre and Vice President Neville Murphy were invited by Perth Airport to attend the Official Opening ceremony on Friday 16 December 2011. Earlier in the week, AAWA members attended an official pre-opening tour of the facility.
The Opening Ceremony was conducted by Perth Airport CEO Brad Geatches, with the ribbon-cutting ceremony completed by Steve Wolff, Deputy Mayor of the City of Belmont at 10:26am. Glenys Godfrey, the former Mayor of Belmont also attended.
AAWA wishes to thank Perth Airport for creating a world-class airport viewing area, and the aviation enthusiasts who contributed their ideas and time to Perth Airport over a number of years to make this happen.
Geoff Thomas played a key role in discussing the idea with Perth Airport from 2007, and a written proposal was submitted to the airport in mid 2008 by Merv Prime, Neville Murphy and Gavin Miller. Additional input was added to this submission by other aviation enthusiasts in 2009, and used by Geoff in his discussions with the airport. AAWA became involved in discussions and submissions with Perth Airport during 2010 and 2011.
Perth Airport supported the proposal, and provided the land, a significant sum of money for design and construction, obtained regulatory clearances, and appointed an architect and project team. The design was finalised in early 2011 and construction commenced in August 2011.
The facility has shelters and seating, free parking, access ramps for the disabled, and an elevated position so that fences do not obstruct the view. The viewing area is only 320 metres from centreline of the airport’s longest runway (runway 03/21), and is only 100 metres from centreline of taxiway A3, and 200 metres from taxiway M, where aircraft turn to line up on runway 03. It provides superb views of aircraft taking off or landing on runway 03/21.
The Viewing Area includes some creative design features. The shelter design is based upon the upper deck structure of a Boeing 747, and the signs on the handrailing overlooking the runway are designed to loosely resemble aircraft passenger windows. Other features yet to be added include a globe showing distances to various cities around the world, and a sign to illustrate the different types of aircraft using the airport. A 120-foot long paved path next to the shelter is the same length as the first flight of the Wright Brothers, who made their first flight on 17 December 1903 – the 108th anniversary of this flight was the day after the opening date for the Airport Viewing Area.
December 2011 also marks a number of other aviation anniversaries, including the 90th anniversary of Australia’s first scheduled airline service by Norman Brearley’s airline Western Australian Airways from Langley Park, and the 56th anniversary of first jet airliner to visit Perth (De Havilland DH.106 Comet 3 G-ANLO).
The new spectator area is accessible from Dunreath Road, which runs to the right off Brearley Avenue near the Domestic Terminals, or left off Horrie Miller Drive near the International Terminal. It is open daily at the following times: