The proposed James Price Point gas hub could be the catalyst for regular flights between Singapore and the Kimberley, says the boss of Broome airport.
Work started this week on a multimillion-dollar refurbishment of the airport's departure lounges and there are plans to expand the passenger terminal, depending on international demand.
Airport chief executive Nick Belyea said the proposal to expand the terminal for overseas passengers would depend on corporate traffic generated by the oil and gas industry associated with Browse Basin.
"The development of Browse Basin in itself is unlikely to commercially support a Broome- Singapore service," he said.
"However, the development of the James Price Point LNG plant could be the required catalyst to initiate and sustain an international service.
"But let's not forget that, whilst the aircraft will have the much-needed corporate traffic, there is also expected to be seats available for tourism and for Broome and Kimberley passengers wanting a quicker route to Asia and Europe, rather than via Perth or Darwin."
Australia's North West Tourism chairman Chris Ellison said a deputation from Broome had submitted a fresh business case to international airlines SilkAir and Jetstar Asia in Singapore in December with the hope of creating direct flights to Broome.
Mr Ellison said the response was very encouraging, compared with a previous bid for the same flights two years ago.
Mr Belyea said that target aircraft for the Singapore-Broome route were the Boeing 737-800 or the Airbus A320, which can carry about 170 passengers in a two-class configuration.
The contract for the airport revamp has been awarded to Broome-based Eco Constructions.
Work on the first stage - worth about $2.5 million - is expected to be mostly complete by the end of May.
'The development of Browse Basin in itself is unlikely to support a Broome-
Singapore service.'"Airport boss *Nick Belyea *