"We are Not at War", with Qantas Says Perth Airport CEO

29th Nov 2016

Perth Airport and Qantas are not on the best terms right now. They are not at war, as Kevin Brown, CEO of Perth Airport says, but are neither friendly at the moment.

The reason behind this is Qantas' plan to run direct flights to Europe. The Flying Kangaroo wants to use the domestic terminal to send its planes to Europe; Perth Airport thinks the newly-built international terminal is a better solution. And one that could save them about $40 million, which is how much they estimate upgrading the domestic terminal would cost them.

Still, despite everything, Kevin Brown said discussions with the airline are moving forward and that no option had been ruled out at the moment.

He said:

"In terms of some of the headlines we are 'at war with Qantas', we are not. We're in dialogue with Qantas in a discussion to look at a sensible outcome. There's a number of operational and commercial factors that play through the arena."

Qantas Sees "Enormous" Potential in the Route

According to Qantas, there is "enormous " commercial potential in the Perth-London route. However a spokesman for the airline didn't want to go deeper into the discussions saying:

"We're not going to elaborate those discussions publicly. But they are based on a pretty standard set of pain-share, gain-share principles that are typical in airport and airline discussions. It's clear that the potential of the Perth-London route has struck a chord with West Australians, who want to see it happen."

The spokesman continued:

"We think the potential is enormous, including for the airport itself when you consider what it would mean for their traffic flows if Perth becomes a jumping off point for Australians wanting to travel to Europe."

Can Perth's Domestic Terminal Handle the Route?

The question, however, is can Perth Airport's domestic terminal handle the route and does it have the facilities to do so.

According to Mr. Brown the biggest problem is the lack of quarantine and Australian Border Force infrastructure.

Mr. Brown said:

"To process international passengers requires many other bodies. We're still working with those bodies, as are Qantas, to find a way to effectively duplicate those services. We would obviously love to see those additional services as well but they're not firmed up at the moment."