Regional air travel and related tourism in the state of Western Australia has been in the spotlight recently, and has received a boost from a couple of quarters in the industry.
Perth Airport recently announced it’s partnership with Australian low cost carrier Virgin Australia to promote regional travel in the region.
The move will see Perth airport invest $80 million on projects in the region to help bolster and develop regional aviation in Western Australia.
As part of the money invested by the airport, nearly half of it ($35million to be exact) will fund a new maintenance hangar at Perth Airport for use by the Virgin Australia Regional Airlines group (VARA).
Commenting on the investment, acting Chief Executive Officer for Perth Airport, Kate Holsgrove said: “Growth in FIFO and regional passenger movements over the past three years made it timely to invest in new capacity and facilities.”
According to the CEO, the new maintenance hangar and apron facility is expected to be ready for use by September 2024.
Virgin Australia regional plans
Virgin Australia has some ambition plans of its own, most notably its fleet renewal plan.
Indeed, VARA Executive General Manager, Nathan Miller recently made this clear saying: “Our fleet renewal program is well underway and will strengthen our resources and contract flying in Western Australia. The Program means larger, more fuel efficient 737-700 aircraft will join the fleet as we phase out our F100s”.
The investment made by Perth Airport will line up perfectly with such fleet renewal and allow a state of the art maintenance facility to support its growing fleet.
Furthermore, VARA has also committed to an agreement for lease of the new maintenance hangar and apron facility. This will allow the group to operate more efficiently by having all of its warehouse, storage, engineering and maintenance office facilities in one place.
Further investment in other areas of Perth Airport
As for where the rest of the investment money is going Ms Holsgrove said that that Perth Airport would develop what will be known as the “Aviation Support Precinct”
This new area will be located near T2 and as Perth Airport’s CEO describes it, it will be an “area reserved for operations that require airside access and apron areas for aeronautical operations, including hangarage, ground support providers, flight catering and airfreight logistics”.
As such, she said this will be another opportunity for airlines to grow their business in Perth.
Overall, Perth Airport has big plans for the future that will allow to grow to unprecedented sizes it hasn’t seen before.
Indeed, the CEO says these plans align to Master Planning made in the 1970s, which shows the airport is well on target even 50 years later.
Qantas spotlight on WA
In another boost to regional travel, Qantas and Tourism Western Australia recently teamed up with Western Australian Wongi artist Kevin Wilson to feature his artwork on limited-edition Qantas amenity kits.
In celebration of Western Australia’s new global tourism brand Walking On A Dream, Kevin Wilson’s artwork showcases some of the most beautiful parts of WA.
It combines elements of ancient tracks, waterways and animals from iconic WA destinations including Ningaloo Reef, the Margaret River Region, the Kimberley and Perth.
Qantas currently operates 15 domestic routes to, from and within WA. A direct flight between Melbourne and Learmonth will launch on 30 April, making WA’s world heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef even more accessible for visitors from the East Coast of Australia.