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WORK has begun on the first stage of the long-awaited and much-needed expansion of Perth airport’s international terminal, a A$750 million transformation of the domestic and international terminals to take place during the next three years.The project will include: • A major expansion of the international terminal costing A$300 million, with a new arrivals area, check-in hall and expanded departures lounge; • Upgraded road transport comprising seven proposed major road infrastructure projects to ease traffic congestion; • Expanded car parking and • Increased capacity for future growth.“These major investments are part of our plan to consolidate all commercial air services to the current international precinct over the next decade,” said the airport’s chief executive, Brad Geatches. “This must happen in stages, with the first stage seeing all domestic airlines except those in the Qantas Group re-locating to the consolidated precinct over the next three years.“We have worked closely with the many airlines servicing Western Australia to design new airfield, terminal and transport facilities that will provide high levels of reliability and a great airport experience.”The new dedicated domestic terminal - situated next to the current international complex — will be home to Skywest, Alliance Airlines and Tiger Airways’ domestic operations from 2013. It has been designed to incorporate environmental features to maximise energy and carbon efficiencies.It’s claimed check-in will be faster and easier with 16 counters, self-service and bag drop technology, a spacious lounge, three large baggage reclaim belts - minimising waiting times - plus dedicated drop-off and pick-up lanes and parking at the front of the terminal.Due for completion in 2014, the international terminal will double the size of all existing areas and separate Immigration and Biosecurity (Quarantine) over two levels.Passengers will board and disembark through aircraft gates and aerobridges capable of servicing new aircraft types, including the super-jumbo Airbus A380.Other features will include: • Expanded departure lounge with improved airline customer lounges; • Expanded check-in hall with 16 additional counters, new check-in and bag drop technology and an increased border and security screening area; • Larger baggage reclaim belts aimed at minimising waiting times and • More dining choice and retail outlets, including an expanded and improved duty free store. A new, large pier — at the western end of the existing international terminal — will be the new home for Virgin Australia. The pier will feature departure lounges and aircraft gates for domestic and international flights, together with a wide range of retail outlets. - John Newton
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