20 June 2015 – copyright © David Eyre
The State Government has announced that Busselton Regional Airport is to have its terminal and runway upgraded under a $59.7 million project.
Busselton Regional Airport is currently limited to CASA Code 3C aircraft on intrastate flights, such as the Fokker 100s of Virgin Australia taking mine workers to iron ore mines in the Pilbara region.
Under the project, it will be upgraded to take Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft (CASA Code 4C), which will enable direct interstate aviation services.
Additional land is to be purchased to enable the runway to be extended and widened. The terminal and car park will also be expanded. Construction is expected to start in early 2017, with completion by mid-2018.
The Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett also announced that consideration would be given to a new name for the airport, given its increased importance for the whole Margaret River region. The name will be chosen by the public, with the list of suggestions including Margaret River Airport, Busselton-Margaret River Airport, Capes-Margaret River Airport, Cape Naturaliste Airport and Vasse Airport.
It is expected that the airport upgrade will help generate tourism and jobs, as well as boosting air freight capacity and enabling larger aircraft to be used on FIFO flights. The Premier also hopes that the upgrade will make international flights possible in the late 2020s.
The Government will include some financial incentives to attract Qantas and Virgin to operate services to Busselton from the Eastern States.