There’s no substitute for getting on location to understand an airport. At Perth Airport right now that means donning hardhat, safety glasses and steel-capped boots to enter the Terminal 2 construction site.
With snappy fluorescent vests over our equally snappy business attire, Perth Airport’s Executive General Manager Commercial Services Scott Norris, General Manager Retail Rebecca Cook and I might almost pass as site workers – so long as we stick close to our escort, Major Projects OSH Adviser Colum Costello.
Previously known as Terminal WA (for Western Australia), the nascent T2 captures the feel of Australia’s largest state. A broad forecourt separates land transport from the entrance, reflecting the space and desert landscapes of WA, and Scott says that finished colours and materials will enhance that ambience.
This domestic terminal, which will serve regional carriers Alliance, Skywest and Tiger initially, occupies a crucial role in the mining boom that has super-charged the Perth economy.
Getting fly-in fly-out workers onto planes will create a real morning rush hour at the terminal, something anticipated in the design with a central lounge area from which passengers can embark quickly through eight gates.
Hearty breakfasts and coffee will be a key part of the offer for those about to fly out. LS Travel Retail will manage the one retail outlet airside, combining convenience, technology and news & books.
Rebecca shows me where the Subway outlet will sit alongside Delaware North’s Four Alls bar – which I’m delighted to learn will have Fremantle’s excellent Little Creatures Pale Ale on tap. It’s bound to be popular with miners returning from a week or two on some of the ‘dry’ desert sites across WA.
All around us men and machines are putting the terminal together, closing in on an opening date within Q1 2013. Colum keeps us out of harm’s way, then kindly takes a photo of his charges as we cross the forecourt into the wide open spaces of WA.
On the photographic evidence it’s in fact clear I could never pass as a genuine member of the hard-hat brigade. Best, I think, to time my next visit when I can blend in at the bar over a middy of Little Creatures.