Qantas and Perth Airport in dispute over planned Perth-Europe direct flights

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22 November 2016 © David Eyre

Qantas aims to start direct flights between Perth and Europe, but only if Perth Airport permits international operations from Terminals 3 and 4 (T3 and T4), instead of Terminal 1 (T1).

Currently, all international services from Perth (including Qantas’ international services to Singapore), operate from T1 on the east side of the airport, which has the necessary customs and international arrival/departure facilities. Qantas’ domestic services still operate from T3 and T4, on the west side of the airport. Qantas is aware of the decades-old plans to consolidate all services around Terminal 1.

Years ago, Qantas operated to a number of international destinations from Perth, but gradually withdrew from all markets, citing low patronage and yields. This attracted criticism from Western Australians and also allowed overseas airlines to fill the void. For a year, no Qantas international services operated from Perth (2014-2015). Singapore services were then reintroduced, using smaller Boeing 737-800s.

Qantas’ new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners will be delivered from 2017 and the airline believes that direct services between Perth and London Heathrow are possible with the new jets. Qantas also states that it might later add direct to Paris, Frankfurt and Rome – all destinations from which it earlier withdrew. It wants to reconfigure T3 and T4 to allow international operations.

Perth Airport estimates the cost of reconfiguring T3 and T4 at $45 million, versus Qantas’ estimate of $25 million. Perth Airport disputes the need to spend this money, given that there would only be one daily Qantas international flight with 236 passengers. The Airport has offered Qantas a generous multi-million dollar incentive package’ to use T1, which already has the ability to accommodate the proposed services at any time. The airport plans to build a new international satellite terminal, T5 on the north side of  T1 International, around 2023/24.

Western Australian Premier and Tourism Minister Colin Barnett said it was “a commercial matter” between Qantas and Perth Airport and negotiations were ongoing. He said that whilst Qantas may wish to operate from T3 and T4 for the next five years, this would only be an interim solution before consolidating operations at T1 International. This is part of the reason the State Government is building an underground rail line to T1.

David Eyre

President, Aviation Association of WA Inc

9 thoughts on “Qantas and Perth Airport in dispute over planned Perth-Europe direct flights

  • November 22, 2016 at 10:42 pm
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    QANTAS have very cheekily demanded that they use T4 when they know all the facilities are at T1. Remember this is the airline that disgracefully over a period of a few years, removed all their international services from Perth, until re establishing a daily (with a narrow body 737) after much pressure in 2015.. It is sheer nonsense to say that most pax for this proposed daily service will be from intrastate or interstate, the majority will join the flight here and go straight to T1.
    What absolute nonsense to suggest that this could lead to 4 B787 direct flights daily, when QF many years ago stopped serving Paris, Zurich and Rome because of low yield and patronage.
    Can you imagine the additional arrival processing delays when the three agencies, Customs, Immigration and Quarantine, would have to send a full team over to T4 each day. Perth Airport should stick to their guns and say T1 it is. Finally if QF is genuine about operating this service, dead genuine, then they should accept T1 and get on with organising this new service.

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  • November 22, 2016 at 11:10 pm
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    Hi David – that is exactly what has been published in the newspapers. There have been lots of comments of the Qantas so called plans, and they are mostly in the negative sense. It should be remembered that Perth Airport IS Perth Airport and not owned or operated by Qantas. The amount of money to spend cannot be warranted for ONE flight a day by a B787. Brisbane,Sydney have to bus between Domestic and International terminals so why should Perth by any different? The amount of money also that Joyce said will be spent with the QF Domestic/QF B787 operations from T3/4, is pure fantasy. The pax would all have to be millionaires to spend that type of money on ONE flight a day. QF saying they MAY do other direct flights from Perth – CDG etc, is pure speculation and hype by Joyce.

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    • November 25, 2016 at 4:14 am
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      I think it will be much more than one flight a day. I can see Perth Paris as the next priority and then take your pick from continental Europe. Also there is two Singapore flights per day already so there will be three not one. Note Canberra paid for the investment of a immigration and customs post for four SQ flights per week. Perth airport is not only not serving Qantas but not serving the people of Perth with such a short sighted decision.

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  • November 24, 2016 at 8:42 am
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    alan joyce, pull your head in. 45 or 25 million has better ways to be spent in this world and consolidation of the airports will leave this money burnt up within 5 years. what a joke.

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  • November 24, 2016 at 9:53 am
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    The current Qantas international offering into and out of Perth is a joke and an insult – a narrow body 737 with an incredibly small seat pitch. The most uncomfortable international flight I have ever taken.

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  • November 26, 2016 at 11:20 pm
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    The only concern I’m aware is the fact that T3 and T4 don’t have a Immigration Passport Control. They really need to construct one asap. Should QF/JQ international operations move to T3 and T4, then they could have a better connection with domestic destinations.

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  • November 28, 2016 at 9:56 am
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    Yes it seems the so called short term gains are of a grandiose nature stating almost everyone would like to do a 2 day tour of Margaret River before joining this flight to London from T4 is very fantasy driven. In the current economic climate world wide not just here in Australia or Perth there WILL NOT BE A STAMPEDE for the doors but a more gradual escalation of people. The process can be quite simply handled from a gradual expansion process at T1 then the big shove for Qantas to move over.. I wonder if Perth Airport can terminate their lease soon. Im sure they wont renew it on that side.That would hurry it up…They bus the Qantas planes over from T4 anyway for the SQ service.. why not just leave the people onboard and take them for the same ride over hahhaha. Its not HARD but the economics of relocating customs there is sheer nonsense. Complete waste of money… You can see Perth Airport would put a $100-$200 passenger service fee on every passenger on this flight just to maintain this presence there.. Can you see the people dipping into their own pockets for this??..Im sure they will have second thoughts.. Come on Qantas make the big calls and do the right thing by Perth!!!

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  • December 2, 2016 at 1:54 pm
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    Adelaide already has daily one stop services to a multitude of European destinations using Emirates and Qatar. Canberra already has four times weekly one stop services using Singapore Airlines, soon to be enhanced by daily Qatar services. Even Darwin has three weekly one stop services using Silk Air/Singapore Airlines. Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne have so many choices for one stops to Europe it is not funny. Why exactly would people want to fly to Perth to fly on Qantas’ 18 hour flight to LHR? The bulk of the passengers using the service are going to be people willing to pay the premium fare to fly to Perth, people who already fly Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qatar, Etihad and others. Qantas are just pissing in the wind if they think there is going to be significant numbers of passengers just wanting to transit through Perth. It is just Alan Joyce proving how much of a bonehead he really is. Perth Airport are right on this – use T1 which is the designated international terminal. There is no justification for Qantas to use T3/T4 for international services, especially as they are happy to use widely separated terminals at Sydney and Brisbane.

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  • December 3, 2016 at 4:13 pm
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    I don’t understand what all fuss is about, it won’t be just 1 daily 787 flight but also the 2 daily Singapore flights (upgraded to a330 starting Jan 1) and the 5 jestar flights to Bali and Singapore. People will also connect from around Australia especially people from Canberra and Adelaide, even without those cities there is more the enough demand for direct to London with just people from Perth, we do have the largest UK population per capita. So Qantas should stick to what they want because there finally flying from Perth again

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