Qantas is to spend tens of millions of dollars over the next two years to expand and enhance its terminals at Perth Airport to cope with the unprecedented demand from the resources boom.
In an exclusive interview, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce told _The West Australian _that the State was experiencing "massive growth" and WA "is hugely important to Qantas".
"Last year we had 26 per cent growth and over the past five years we have grown at an average of 16 per cent a year," Mr Joyce said.
Qantas believes the growth will continue about 10 per cent a year for the foreseeable future. "We are very optimistic about the mining sector," Mr Joyce said. "And if the growth is higher, we can handle it."
He reiterated the need for a third - and second parallel - runway at Perth to handle the demand. But the earliest Perth Airport can provide the new runway will be late 2017 because it has leased the land where the runway will be built.
Qantas is investing heavily in regional WA, having expanded QantasLink and Qantas capacity over the past few years. It is now operating more than 280 return flights with 75,000 seats to regional WA each week.
As a result of this growth, Qantas is investing in Terminal 4, its dedicated terminal, to enhance the existing facilities.
The airline has recently expanded its security screening area to three units to speed up the processing of passengers.
From February, Qantas will expand its operations into the adjacent Terminal 3 and will share that facility with Virgin Australia until that airline moves out in mid-2014.
All Qantas Group Domestic and Regional services - Qantas, Jetstar, QantasLink and Network Aviation - will operate from the same precinct.
The exclusive access to these terminals will provide better flight connections, faster check-in times, streamlined security access and more premium lounges.