Perth Airport accelerating discussions with airlines on Category 3B ILS and third runway

19 July 2013

Aviation journalist Geoffrey Thomas reported in The West Australian that Perth Airport is bringing forward discussions with airlines regarding an upgraded Instrument Landing System (ILS), and the third runway. Final plans will be submitted to airlines within three months.

ILS Category 3B

The ILS upgrade would enable landings in severely reduced visibility, reducing the need for flights to divert to other airports when Perth Airport is experiencing inclement weather.

Perth Airport uses a Category 1 ILS, which requires pilots to be able to see the runway from a height of 61m with forward visibility of 800m.

Later in 2013, six transmissometers (also known as hazemeters) will also be installed. These use beams to help determine runway visibility, and will allow arriving aircraft to make an approach with a visibility of 550 metres, compared with the current 800 metre visibility.

A Category 3B system, which would cost $20 million, would reduce the decision height to 15m and forward visibility to 75m.

On 16 July 2013, morning fog at Perth was followed by gusty wind conditions, causing delays for 220 flights. An inbound Emirates flight had to divert to Adelaide, costing the airline about $500,000.

Fog was forecast for 65 days in the past year, causing flights to either turn back or carry extra fuel – reducing the payload of passengers and cargo.

Third runway

The proposed third runway, which could cost about $500 million, is needed to reduce congestion and flight delays.

Perth Airport has two runways – 03/21 and 06/24 which intersect, meaning that they can only be used alternately (not simultaneously) subject to appropriate wind conditions.

A third runway parallel to runway 03/21 on the east side of Horrie Miller Drive would help reduce delays and cope with increased air traffic in the future.

For the 2012/13 financial year, Perth Airport passenger traffic increased 8.17 per cent to 13.7 million passengers, with another one million passengers using the Cobham, Skippers Aviation, Network Aviation and Maroomba Airlines terminals. Aircraft movements 6.5 per cent to 151,333.

Airlines that service Perth are still expanding their fleets and services, with major mining companies still planning to increase production.

David Eyre

President, Aviation Association of WA Inc

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