Source: The West Australian
From the glamorous jet set of the 1960s who could shell out the equivalent of 25 weeks’ salary for the return flight to London to today’s fly-in, fly-out workers who travel to a host of remote sites 25 times a year for work.
Perth Airport is the heartbeat of WA’s economy. If the airport is busy, WA is firing.
Since 1960, Perth Airport traffic has grown on average at double the world rate.
And with costs continuing to tumble travel is so affordable.
Flashback to 1964, when the Beatles toured Australia, the average yearly wage would buy nine return trips to Sydney.
Today, that average wage would buy 200 trips.
But Perth Airport’s chief executive Kevin Brown is not relying on tumbling airfares and FIFO workers to drive traffic.
“If Perth Airport fully realises its potential, then this State fully realises its economic worth,” Mr Brown said.
“Our focus is not just on leisure. It’s business, it’s the whole economic package with all aspects of export, which includes education.
“We’ve got fantastic universities that have world-wide credibility in many fields whether it’s in exploration and oil and gas or mining.”
Mr Brown sees great potential with tourism.
“If we look at just tourism in itself, it’s one of the five pillars of the Australian economy and it’s growing three times faster than the national economic average,” he said.
“So, it is a really supercharged element for the economy and one that we’re very keen to work on with tourism authorities.”
Twenty years ago, there were just 70 international flights a week into Perth. Now there are almost 300, and overall passenger numbers have grown from 4.5 million to just under 14 million.
“That’s phenomenal growth but our work is not done because we see a potential for a further 10 million passengers over the next 15 years.
“We need to make sure our facilities are fit for purpose and ahead of the curve and ready for those passengers.
“That’s why we’re working with our airline business partners, our customers, to actually develop the expansion to the international terminal so we can be a true and proper fit-for-purpose gateway — a western gateway to the whole of Australia.”
Over the next 10 years the airport’s shopping list of new infrastructure tops $2.5 billion.