The West

West Australians' love affair with international travel is booming with overseas passenger movements through Perth Airport up 12.4 per cent for the first four months of the year.

In January, total passenger numbers jumped 5.9 per cent to a record 1.27 million, compared with January last year, with international travel a stand-out for the month, leaping 17 per cent to a record 433,704 movements.

Last year, the most popular overseas destination was Singapore with just over one million passengers flying between Perth and the Asian hub.

But Kuala Lumpur had the biggest gain in the holiday stakes, up 7.48 per cent to 488,074 passengers.

Bali continues to be top of the travel list for a pure holiday destination, up about one per cent to 865,694 passengers.

One of the biggest growth markets has been through the Middle East, particularly for Doha-based Qatar Airways. The airline launched in July 2012 with 259-seat Boeing 777-200LR planes and has upgraded most flights to the bigger 335-seat Boeing 777-300ERs.

Last year, it carried 145,633 passengers to and from Doha in Qatar.

Emirates lifted its passenger numbers 26 per cent to 504,000 last year. Its numbers have also been bolstered by the new alliance with Qantas.

Usually it operates three flights a day to Dubai, but has cut back to two daily while runway works are completed at its home base.

It should resume three daily flights late next month.

The airline also plans to put a 490-seat A380 super jumbo on the Perth route. Next month its rival Etihad Airways will start a daily service between Perth and Abu Dhabi with a host of connections to Europe, the US and the Middle East.

Thai AirAsia X is also on the international radar. Launched in April, Thai AirAsia X, an affiliate carrier of Thai AirAsia, is expected to start flights to Perth within 12 months.

The West Australian

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