Tourism chief says Busselton Airport’s future must consider international flights including Singapore

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association chair Stuart Hicks.
Camera IconMargaret River-Busselton Tourism Association chair Stuart Hicks. Credit: Christian Bishop

The chair of the region’s most prominent tourism group says international flights into the Capes must be considered as a priority in plans for Busselton Airport going forward.

Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association chair Stuart Hicks was anticipating the release of the latest business plan for the region’s airport which was already thriving on a mix of fly-in, fly-out flights and direct Jetstar flights from Sydney and Melbourne.

However, the region’s eyes were always on the prize of the South-East Asian market, with long-held ambitions for a leg to Singapore needing crucial infrastructure including an updated passenger terminal, customs and immigration.

“While we need to continue to build our interstate routes, we are optimistic about international routes in future, and markets like Singapore offer a strong opportunity,” Mr Hicks said.

“Singapore is currently our region’s second largest international visitor market after the UK and is key to building our off-peak visitation.

“Singaporeans are attracted to our region during winter, motivated by nature and wildlife — aquatic and coastal — and food and wine experiences, and have an above-average trip expenditure.

“It is imperative that the new airport terminal is able to handle future international flights. The runway already has the capability to handle an Airbus A330 which can service a number of destinations within Asia.”

City of Busselton mayor Phill Cronin said the strong tracking of the Jetstar flights was welcome news.

“The business case to support increased domestic rapid passenger transport services and future international flight capability is being finalised,” he said.

Busselton chief executive Tony Nottle confirmed the new business plan would be finished in the next couple of weeks, after which it would be submitted to the State Government for consideration.

“Further information can be provided once the State Government has had time to consider the information,” he said.

The latest airport statistics confirmed the boom, with 34 weekly FIFO flights and six with Jetstar, while visitor numbers continued to exceed those from the 2022-23 financial year.

Jetstar did not respond for requests to comment.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails