There are more than 50,000 jobs supported within Australia’s aviation industry, which is responsible for contributing in excess of $5 billion into the economy. In Western Australia this industry continues to play a vital role in servicing remote and offshore destinations in and around the State. The services offered by ground and flight operations impact on emergency services, agriculture, tourism, recreational sport and the resources sector.
Perth Airport has a big role to play, not just for the State but for the country as a whole. The resources sector has been a major source of sustained economic growth that extends beyond construction and operational roles. Support services such as finance, transport and logistics continue to assist in meeting industry needs. Approximately 13.6 million passengers passed through Perth Airport in 2012-13. A growing number of mining and oil and gas companies have contributed to the additional demand for aviation services. Fly-in fly-out (FIFO) worker numbers account for the majority of intrastate travellers, particularly to the North West, for exploration and expansion projects.
According to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Aircraft Register, the number of helicopters in Australia grew by 16 per cent during 2012. This was largely due to the increase in offshore passenger and emergency medical transport fields. The figures have nearly doubled in the last decade to over 2000 registrations and could potentially double again within seven years given the strong demand for Australia’s energy and mineral resources.
In relative terms, air travel is becoming much more affordable. The advances in technology have seen greater fuel efficiencies and larger fleet sizes have allowed for greater freight and passenger capacity. For the workforce, this means an increased demand for workers required for both ground and air travel.
With the expansion work that is taking place at Perth Airport, there is concern regarding the additional staffing requirements that will be needed to match growing international passenger numbers and processing capacity of the airport. Similarly, there will also be a significant increase in the number of staff required to service ground operations for the new domestic terminal. Skilled labour will be needed for tasks associated with the movement of cargo, passengers, fuel and aircraft on the tarmac.