Up to 6000 interstate and international passengers are due to touch down at Perth Airport on February 5, but the airport is confident of its COVID safety measures in place.
The first day is just the curtain-raiser of reconnecting WA to the world. Up to 80,000 interstate and international passengers are expected in the first two weeks, although Omicron could put a dent in those bookings in the next few weeks.
According to Perth Airport chief executive Kevin Brown, the airport had been working closely with State and Federal governments to ensure a COVID-safe welcome for passengers.
“There will be some new processes in place for arriving passengers, so we are asking travellers and those waiting for them in the terminal to be patient as safety must come first. We need to keep everyone who works in or travels through our terminals COVID-safe,” Mr Brown said.
The State Government has established a comprehensive series of restrictions and measures, including double dose vaccination for quarantine-free travel.
A State Government spokesperson said: “WA’s Transition Plan measures will be finalised in the lead up to February 5, when we know more about Omicron and have up-to-date health advice.
“WA is in the best position because we can watch and learn from the experiences over east and around the world, and ensure when we do transition our border controls, it is done safely and carefully.”
Inbound ticket sales are strong, with more than 11,000 incoming international passengers in the first fortnight compared to about 500 passengers under the existing international arrivals cap of 265 per week.
On February 5 there will be more than 1000 international arrivals, compared to last Saturday when just 21 passengers arrived, with two Singapore Airlines Boeing 787 flights, one Emirates Boeing 777 from Dubai and one Qatar Airways Boeing 777 from Doha.
Singapore Airlines will be first in at five minutes past midnight.
On February 6 there are five international flights due, including Air New Zealand Boeing 787 from Auckland.
However, outbound international passenger numbers are low.
On the first day, Qantas and Jetstar have scheduled 25 flights from the Eastern States while Virgin Australia has 14.
The interstate flight roster is: Sydney 12, Melbourne 12, Brisbane 7, Adelaide 5, Darwin 3, Hobart 1, Cairns 1 and Alice Springs 1.
A full recovery for aviation is still a long way off, but this will be a really positive start after a really dire 22 months.
Many of these flights are sold out and estimates put the daily interstate inbound passenger number at up to 5000.
Mr Brown said that the airport’s international airline partners have done it tough throughout COVID but have maintained connections with Perth and WA.
“These international airlines have done the heavy lifting in bringing West Australians home and allowing freight to move into and out of Western Australia.
“Due to the international passenger arrivals cap, they have been often been forced to fly in with only a handful of passengers or, in some cases, no passengers at all.
“To see them with flights that are either full or close to full is just incredible. They have made some huge financial sacrifices to keep flights coming in during COVID and I know all West Australians are grateful for their support,” Mr Brown said.
“A full recovery for aviation is still a long way off, but this will be a really positive start after a really dire 22 months.
“I’m incredibly proud of the Perth Airport team for everything they’ve done during COVID to keep our runways and terminals open. There’s a real buzz amongst our team about the February 5 re-opening.”