Up to 27 000 fly in-fly out mining jobs are at risk due to congestions at Perth airport, the West Australian has reported.
Three major miners stated that they are altering their fly in-fly out strategies due to the shortage of early morning flights on Tuesday and Thursday.
According to data from the West Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy, the resource sector is expected to grow by 38 000 workers by 2012, with Chamber director Paul Frewer stating that fly-in, fly-out was “critical to the resource industry”.
The airport has not planned a second runway until 2029 after averaging the number of flights over a week, however it did not take into account peak demand days mid week where it can take up to 450 flights per day.
Perth airport has seen an increase in flights of 6% over the past three months, whereas it had forecast a decline of .9%.
The situation has become dire enough to a point where more flights directly from the eastern states to the Pilbara region are being considered.
Airlines such as Skywest have reportedly switched to A320 planes, which have a longer range, to service the demand mining companies that are looking to bypass Perth Airport due to congestion.
The A320 aricraft can fly non stop from Melbourne to Karratha.
This course of action is expected to have serious repercussions for Perth’s economy.
QANTAS has already started operating flights directly from Brisbane to Karratha, with Skywest and Newcrest following suit and flying from Melbourne to Kalgoorlie and Brisbane to Telfer respectively