Perth Airport says it will go ahead with an upgrade that would allow planes to operate in reduced visibility and potentially avoid chaos caused by fog only if airlines push for it.
Fog delayed outgoing flights yesterday and caused some incoming flights to be diverted to Brisbane, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Kalgoorlie and Port Hedland.
Up to 60 domestic and international flights were affected. It was the third time in as many months fog delays have hit the airport.
Perth Airport chief executive Brad Geatches said an upgrade to the kind of infrastructure used at many airports in Europe and the US would cost up to $20 million but would only help in landings, not departures. "If airlines would like Perth Airport to be upgraded . . . Perth Airport will proceed with the upgrade," he said. "To date, airlines have indicated that an upgrade is not necessary, given Perth Airport is affected by fog infrequently."
However, a Qantas spokesman said the airline was "still in discussions" with the airport about infrastructure upgrades to enable landings in low visibility.
Dianne McLernon was waiting at the international airport to pick up her son, who had been due in on a flight from Hong Kong that was diverted to Port Hedland. "He's not well, so he's really looking forward to getting home," she said.
The Weather Bureau said the fog was caused by moist conditions, light winds and clear skies.