Wet weather didn’t upset thirty-two cadets, who got the privilege of participating in an aerodrome tour of Perth Airport. The airport is Australia’s fourth largest in terms of passenger movements and a vital piece of transport infrastructure for one of the most isolated cities in the world. Perth Airport is currently serviced by thirty international, domestic and regional airlines flying to over 100 destinations.
Cadets were given a informative tour by General Manager – Airfield Operations, Rob Mikhail of the key points of interest across the airfield whilst being driven airside by bus. The drive took cadets around the intrastate Terminal 2 precinct, where some of the fly-in-fly-out operations to and from the mining regions of WA arrive and depart. Heading towards the recently-upgraded Terminal 1 mixed-use precinct, the standout feature of Perth Airport’s redevelopment project, the Virgin Australia Terminal 1 Domestic Pier, was sleek and modern in its design. This is the first stage in the airport’s master plan to consolidate all air services in one precinct.
On the way to Airservices Australia’s Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) facility at the aerodrome, cadets got to see the current international terminal on what is a quiet period of the day for international operations. Cadets were then shown the current and future runway layout as well as important markings for both aircraft and ground vehicles, with Rob pointing out that the airport is close to completing both a cross runway resurfacing project and the upgrade of electrical and lighting infrastructure to what is known as ‘Category 3b’, which will enable aircraft to arrive in dense fog down to a forward visibility of 75 metres, eliminating the need for costly and untimely diversions that cost both the airport and aviation business lost productivity and thousands of dollars each year.
Arriving at the ARFF station, cadets had an detailed tour of the facility, including gaining access to the hangars, the tender trucks and inside the operations control centre, the heart and soul of the recently upgraded building.
The tour continued around the general aviation precinct, where the majority of charter companies operate from as well as the multitude of aircraft that were on hardstands. Rob explained that the many stand-off bays worked to offer space for aircraft to be parked when they are not being operated. Continuing on into the Qantas Terminal 3 and 4 precinct, where low-cost carrier Jetstar also operate their domestic services from, with Rob noting the partnership between the flying kangaroo and the airport in being able to facilitate the airline’s international services from this precinct come March 2018, when it will launch one of the world’s longest commercial air services, from Perth to London non-stop.
Unfortunately, this was also the last point on the tour, to the cadets’ disappointment. The bus took them past the previous sights one last time before checking out.
713 Squadron – Australian Air Force Cadets would especially like to thank Rob and Gemma Hunter (Corporate Affairs) from Perth Airport, as well as the crew from the Airservices Australia ARFF station for an exceptional tour of this state-of-the-art facility.