Perth Targets India Link As International Traffic Returns

Airbus A380s from Emirates and Qatar Airways are set to return to PER in December.

Credit: Perth Airport

Securing nonstop connections to destinations in India, the Philippines and Vietnam are among the main priorities for Perth (PER) as the Australian airport continues to recover its international network, CEO Kevin Brown has told Routes.

International traffic at the gateway remains about 43% down on pre-pandemic levels given the slower recovery of some countries in the Asia-Pacific region and Western Australia’s tough travel restrictions, which were lifted in April.

However, Brown said that there have been some encouraging signs in recent months, both with the resumption of services, capacity increases, and the launch of new routes.

“We’re really excited about the return of the Airbus A380 with Emirates and Qatar Airways in December, and we’ve also got AirAsia X resuming flights from Kuala Lumpur and Air Mauritius from Mauritius in November. The latter is not only important for tourism, but also for student traffic as Curtin University in Perth has a campus in Mauritius,” Brown said.

“Added to this, Qantas is resuming service to Jakarta and starting a route to Johannesburg. We’re also hoping to see ANA back by the end of the first quarter in 2023.”

New route successes for Perth since Western Australia reopened its borders to international tourists six months ago include Qantas’ nonstop summer-season service to Rome Fiumicino (FCO), which launched in June.

The oneworld alliance member is also opening two more international routes before the end of the year, linking Perth with Johannesburg (JNB) three times per week from Nov. 1, and Jakarta (CGK) three times per week from Nov. 30. The latter will be the first direct connection since Garuda Indonesia suspended regular service at the onset of the pandemic.

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Brown—who has led Perth Airport for the past six years but is leaving in December for a job outside of the sector—said there is also big potential for more new routes to destinations in South and Southeast Asia, owing to Perth’s geographical location some 3,290-km (2,044-mi.) west of Sydney.

“We’ve got 60% of the world’s population within a nine-hour flight of Perth—and 18 of the 20 most populous nations are closer to Perth than they are Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne,” he explained.

“Securing a nonstop route to India is an obvious priority. Given the rapidly expanding middle-class in India and the new long-range narrowbodies that will be entering fleets over the coming years, I see opportunities from Delhi and Mumbai—and perhaps even Bangalore and Chennai.”

Brown said that India is Perth’s biggest unserved market at the present time, adding that the Philippines and Vietnam are also large unserved markets, while Indonesia remains underserved.

In addition, gaining a nonstop route to the US is also high on Perth’s wishlist. Brown said that about 150,000 passengers travel indirect between the destinations each year, and the market attracts strong flows of leisure traffic, as well as passengers in the oil, gas and mining industries.