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Perth Airport is the main gateway to the Perth metropolitan area and the state of Western Australia. Hosting domestic, regional and international passenger and cargo services for over 20 airlines, the airport is a regional hub for Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, Skippers Aviation, Alliance Airlines, Cobham and Network Aviation.
Location of Perth Airport, Australia
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883 total articles
49 total articles
After Qantas' international division posted a profit for the six months to 31-Dec-2014, the division's first positive result since the Global Financial Crisis, the division needs to move from profit to sustainability and delivering returns. But Qantas is now considering international expansion after many years of reductions. A flight to Tokyo has been added, seasonal services to Vancouver have returned, there are supplementary long-haul services and Perth-Singapore may even be re-opened. Reports suggest a return to Sydney-San Francisco is even possible.
“We continue to operate below our full potential,” Qantas reported in a recent government submission. But as Qantas considers international growth, it confronts a markedly different international environment. Qantas argues that Australia viewed it as “expendable” and gave away international traffic rights without receiving enough in return. Qantas seeks to slow liberalisation under the justification of enforcing Australia’s legal duty to support a local aviation industry. This is effectively a mask for protectionism, begging the question: what is the value of a local aviation industry?
China Southern Airlines nearing target of 55x flights to Australia/NZ, continuing international push
Chinese aviation often features "light switch" developments: the sector can fumble along and then suddenly, as if a switch is flicked, change mindset to an ambitious target and work tirelessly to achieve it. Such was China Southern's 2010 plan to focus on Australia/New Zealand. After having not even a daily service to Sydney, the relatively unknown Guangzhou-based airline is to have 55 weekly flights in 2015. And China Southern now looks likely to achieve the goal as the airline will 53 weekly flights to the region beginning in mid-2015. Increases over the busier holiday season could tip it past the 55 mark threshold.
The next challenge will inevitably be sustainability. China Southern's Australia/New Zealand capacity fluctuates more than other major Asian airlines, with its strong outbound-China market having sharp peak and off-peak seasons. Operating a full year of 55 weekly flights may be some years away. But there is no doubt the aviation and tourism markets are forever changed, with more to come. Not so long ago China was a small blip for Australia but now there are services from the Big 3 as well as two smaller carriers, along with a proposed JV between Qantas and China Eastern as well as Air New Zealand and Air China, developments hardly on the radar a few years ago. China Southern's international push – in Australia and beyond – has pushed international capacity growth from 19% to 31% of ASKs.
A significant expansion in air traffic rights for Chinese airlines to Australia saw their stock prices jump 3-5%. Ironically, the growth made available from this agreement may mostly be unprofitable, at least in the short term. This explains why China is pursuing gradual liberalisation and not the open skies Australia wants. There is no doubt which group of airlines gain the most: it is the Chinese carriers, who already account for 92% of Australia-China non-stop seat capacity. Qantas, the only Australian airline to operate non-stop, is at 8%.
But Australia is still very much the winner in the bigger picture. Chinese visitor numbers to Australia in the first nine months of 2014 were up 13.4%, and overall volumes more than doubled between 2009 and 2013. As with other destinations in the region, Chinese are quickly becoming a key source market. For Sydney Airport, Chinese passengers account for half of its international growth while at Melbourne Airport China is its largest long-haul market. The expanded agreement is already bearing fruit with capacity additions from Air China and China Eastern as well as a new service from Xiamen Airlines to Sydney expected to be launched before the end of 2015.
Singapore Airlines long-haul low-cost subsidiary Scoot has begun the long anticipated transition from 777s to more efficient 787s. Scoot took delivery of its first of 20 787s on 31-Jan-2015 and plans to place the aircraft into service on 5-Feb-2014.
Scoot is planning a rapid fleet transition which will see all six of its 777-200s phased out by the end of 3Q2015. The airline also plans to launch several new routes as its fleet expands to 10 aircraft, a mix of 375-seat 787-9s and 330-seat 787-8s, by Apr-2016.
The 787 is important, but not the only, component of a long-term business plan that Scoot needs to implement to reach profitability. Partnerships are also crucial for unlocking growth as currently less than 5% of Scoot passengers connect to other airlines.
While many airlines are reducing flights to Japan, Qantas is joining Air New Zealand in growing services. The thinking behind the move is partially that outbound traffic to Japan will grow with the yen's depreciation, but also that as other carriers cut capacity in Japan, outbound Japanese traffic has fewer options. Australia and New Zealand were once big favourites of Japanese travellers; as recently as 2005 Japan was Australia's third largest source of travellers. Now the China market has overshadowed growth developments.
Qantas from Aug-2015 will launch a daily service to Tokyo Haneda from an Australian city to be confirmed by the end of 2014. Although Haneda is more convenient than Narita, Qantas will need to contend with Haneda's limited slots – potentially making Sydney-Haneda a difficult option. By offering more options, Qantas will hope to regain traffic from Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, which carry about 19% of Australia-Japan passengers. But those sixth freedom carriers will likely retain an advantage with their city pair and time combinations.
Virgin Australia FY2014's loss aggravated by short haul international operations; FFP a new strength
There was never any doubt Virgin Australia would incur a FY2014 loss in its domestic operation as a result of over-capacity. And indeed Virgin had a domestic AUD59.2 million EBIT loss, larger than FY2013's AUD34.6 million loss. But more unwelcome was a large swing at its international operation, which posted a FY2014 EBIT loss of AUD66.8 million, significantly worse than FY2013's AUD8.5 million loss. International's margin of negative 5.8% was also significantly worse than domestic's negative 1.9%.
International was impacted by substantial competition to Southeast Asia, an overall small market for Virgin but with disproportionate losses. More subdued domestic market conditions should improve Virgin's performance at home, but international offers no such comfort, raising the question of whether Virgin needs to leverage its LCC unit Tigerair Australia to take over leisure routes no longer suited to Virgin's full-service proposition and cost base.
Virgin's overall FY2014 underlying loss of AUD211.7 million was in line with market expectations and accompanied by news Virgin is selling a 35% stake in its loyalty programme, valuing it at AUD960 million, a significant part of Virgin's total market capitalisation of AUD1.4 billion. Virgin is looking to accelerate growth in this division whereas Qantas has decided to retain total control and the annual revenues.