Taking off: Industry throws weight behind third runway at Perth airport
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Taking off: Industry throws weight behind third runway at Perth airport

Several WA industry organisations have joined forces to spruik the tourism and economic benefits the planned $520 million third runway at Perth Airport would provide the state.

Perth Airport estimated the new runway would inject $1.7 billion into the tourism sector and add $3.7 billion to Perth's economic output in its first two decades of operation.

Planning is under way for Perth Airport's third runway.

Planning is under way for Perth Airport's third runway.

Photo: Perth Airport.

The organisations hailed the third runway as integral to a broad range of industries including tourism, resources and education.

In the face of WA's flagging tourism sector Tourism Council CEO Evan Hall said expanding capacity at the airport was crucial to the push to boost the sector.

“The reality is around 95 per cent of the people who come to our state come through Perth Airport. Greater capacity means more tourists, which means more jobs in the tourism sector,” he said.

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CCIWA chief executive Chris Rodwell said in addition to the 500 jobs during construction phase the new runway would open up growth opportunities for a range of industries across the state.

“The airport is a strategically located commercial hub and is already a huge contributor to the state’s economy," he said.

"Future investment and growth at the airport will deliver a significant flow-on effect for WA
businesses, large and small.”

Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Paul Everingham said the resources sector depended heavily on aviation.

“Lack of capacity at the airport has previously been a handbrake on growth for the resources sector," he said.

"This new investment will get us ahead of the game and set up the future capacity our industry needs.”

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Study Perth executive director Philip Payne said the new runway would help efforts to attract more international students, which were also declining.

“Anything we can do to make it easier for international students and their families to get to and
from Perth quickly and efficiently is going to help our push for a greater share of this market," he said.

"Increasing the number of flights into Perth, and particularly direct flights from key markets, will
undoubtedly help attract international students.”

A Perth Airport spokeswoman said the airport appreciated industry support.

"There’s widespread recognition that the new runway is incredibly important to Perth and Western Australia and that the project will be good for jobs and good for economic growth," she said.

The runway will be built to the south east of the airport and according to Perth Airport modelling 10,000 new homes will be impacted by night-time aircraft noise including Wattle Grove and Forrestfield.

However, areas under the current flight path such as Cannington and Queens Park will experience a drop in night-time flights.

Perth Airport said community sentiment about the third runway was largely positive.

The airport has written to 300,000 residents and has held, or plans to hold, more than 30 community expos and shopping centre visits.

Earlier this month Perth Airport chief Kevin Brown revealed results of a survey of more than 2600 residents that found 74 per cent of people living within 10km of the airport “support” or “strongly support” the building of a new runway, while seven per cent opposed it.

“A new runway means new flight paths and we understand that not everyone is going to be happy about that,” Mr Brown said.

“But by going out and talking with the community, we’ve been able to explain the project and provide responses to queries that they have.

“In many cases residents had feared the worst, but once the project had been explained went away feeling more comfortable."

The runway's major development plan is open for public comment until August 24.

Perth Airport hopes to have approvals in place by 2019 with the new runway expected to be
operational between 2023 and 2028, subject to actual demand and a commercial agreement with airlines being reached.

Are you in favour of a third runway? Share your thoughts with our reporter.