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Transport Minister Rita Saffioti has acknowledged that delays in shifting Qantas’ operations to Perth Airport’s international terminal could have an effect on the viability of the Forrestfield-Airport rail line.
Ms Saffioti said yesterday she would again push to get access to the previous government’s business case for the $1.8 billion rail project after she was denied on first coming to office.
The move comes amid a stoush between Qantas and Perth Airport over the airline’s bid to use terminals three and four for a proposed seasonal service from Johannesburg rather than the regular international facility at terminal one.
While Qantas uses T3 and T4 for its direct Perth to London service and has permission to put nonstop flights from Paris and Frankfurt through there, Perth Airport has baulked at allowing it to be used for the Johannesburg route.
Airport chairman Nev Power, who is due to meet Qantas boss Alan Joyce next week to discuss the impasse, has pointed out the airport train station being built as part of the Forrestfield-Airport Link will stop at T1.
Ms Saffioti said the airport’s operations would “ideally” be moved to one consolidated site to maximise the benefit to the travelling public and the State.
She conceded that keeping Qantas’ operations on the other side of the airport precinct at T3 and T4 could undermine the viability of the rail line.
“Ultimately, this is Commonwealth land and (these) are decisions that all rest with me,” she said. “I have tried to get access to the business case for the Forrestfield-Airport rail project.
“I wrote again last week to the director-general of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet to see whether (he) can ask the Leader of the Opposition to have access to that business case.”
This article first appeared on thewest.com.au
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