Perth Airport is an Australian domestic and international airport located south of Guildford, Western Australia and is the main airport servicing WA’s capital city, Perth. Perth Airport is a medium sized airport by international standards, but plays a strategic role due to its location – servicing many Australian, Asian, African and Pacific locations.
Perth Airport is located a short distance to the east of the central business district of Perth, and is accessible by bus(domestic terminals only), shuttle services and car.
Perth Airport commenced service in May, 1944 as Guildford Aerodrome. Its services replaced previous airfields in Maylands, as well as on the city’s foreshore at Langley Park. The airport was renamed to Perth International Airport in 1952 after the departure of its first international flight, bound for South Africa via Cocos Island and Mauritius.
Historically a number of carriers which have carried passengers through the airport no longer exist – examples include airlines that have folded up, and in various decades carriers have lost rights or withdrawn services. Indonesian carriers such as Sempati no longer exist. Some operators also have withdrawn services only to recommence later on.
To cope with increased passenger numbers, a new dedicated international terminal and control tower was opened in 1986 on the eastern side of the airport.
In 1999, a landing Boeing 747crashed one of its engines into the runway upon landing. The cause was determined to be prevailing weather conditions which often result in low-level turbulence, also known as wind shear, largely due to local geography, with rolling winds caused by the nearby Darling Scarp. The incident has resulted in efforts to improve weather monitoring systems around the airport.
In 2001, after the financial collapse of Ansett Airlines, the Ansett terminal became a multi-user terminal, catering for flights from former Ansett-subsidiary Skywest, as well as Virgin Blue.
Perth Airport simplified its name to Perth Airport in 2002.
Perth Airport commemorated its 60th anniversary in 2004, with an event that opened the new Taxiway Sierra, a new taxiway supporting larger aircraft such as the Airbus A380 to operate at the airport.
The Perth Airport Meteorological Office opened in May 1944 at Ivy St, Redcliffe. It commenced surface and upper air observations and was then known as the Guildford Meteorological Office. Surface observations were moved to the Old Airport Control Tower near the Domestic Terminal approximately 1.5km SSE of the Radar site (at Ivy Street) in March 1988. Its name was changed to the Perth Airport Meteorological Office and the old site was retained for launching and tracking weather balloons. All functions were transferred to the Meteorological Office at its present location, 1.7km NNE of the Old Airport Control Tower, in October 1997.
It has been suggested that with the introduction of the Airbus A 380 Europe-Australia flights – the so called Kangaroo Route. Due to the ability for increased flight distances, carriers would be able to bypass historical stopovers in locations such as Singapore or Bangkok, instead flying directly from Perth to major European airports. The state government and airport administrators have stated it as a goal to make Perth Airport attractive for this, and have plans to upgrade the airport to accommodate the larger aircraft and passenger numbers. The currently used Airbus A340-500 has a range long enough to go from London to Perth. However, neither British Airways nor Qantas appears to have an interest in such a direct route at this time.
The master plan for the airport aims for the domestic and international terminals to be consolidated into the international terminal by 2021. At present, the international and domestic terminals are on opposite sides of the main runway and are not connected by any bridge or rail service. It is approximately 11 kilometers to drive between the two terminals.
The plan would see the closure of the existing western terminal, and the international terminal would be developed to include better transport access, such as a new railway line.
A railway line had been proposed in the 1990’s by nearby local government bodies, however the proposal was not followed through.
The land on which the airport is situated is commonwealth government land. Perth Airport property exists in a different jurisdiction from adjacent lands. As a consequence when the plans are regularly reviewed for the airport land, the unique status has been viewed with interest for the potential for enforcing rigorous environmental standards due to the remnant bushland within the boundaries – and also for potential developments that are not constrained by pressures on adjacent state jurisdiction lands.