Perth Airport (PER IATA) is the main airport of Perth, and the Southern Part of WA in general, and the fourth busiest airport in Australia. It is a hub for Australian flag carrier Qantas, whose flight from Perth to London-Heathrow is the first nonstop commercial flight between Europe and Australia.
The airport has four terminals, which for ground transport purposes can be regarded as two precincts. T1 and T2 are side-by-side to the east of the runway, while T3 and T4 are side-by-side to the west.
The airport is a hub for all of the state of Western Australia, and is also well-connected to Australia's mainland capital cities. There are also numerous direct international services into Perth, mostly from Asian destinations.
Terminal 1 serves all international flights into Perth except those operated by Qantas. There is also a domestic section of T1, which serves all of Virgin Australia's interstate and some regional services.
International arrivals into T1 are usually well spread out, so you have the luxury of walking into an empty passport control and baggage area. Many visitors will be eligible to use the automatic entry gates (so you flew all that way and didn't get a stamp in your passport.) For tourists they don't need to check your visa because all Australian visas are recorded electronically in their computer system.
If several flights arrive together, usually mid-afternoon and around midnight, there can be tedious waits for passport control, baggage reclaim and quarantine checks. It's still likely to be quicker than what passes for normal at a congested European or American airport.
Most international visitors will be experiencing a big time switch. Arriving in the late afternoon or early evening gives you the best chance of adjusting: get to town, shower change and eat, and catch up on sleep. Next morning, get your face into that bright Australian sunshine.
Terminal 2 serves most of Virgin's Australia's regional flights, as well as all flights on Regional Express Airlines (REX) and Alliance Airlines.
T3 and T4 are connected on both sides of security, and the gates are numbered consecutively through both terminals. So for all intents and purposes, they're a single terminal. All Qantas and Jetstar flights arrive and depart from these terminals.
The services that operate from each terminal are:
- Terminal 1 (T1) - All international airlines except Qantas use this terminal
- The carriers include: Air Mauritius, Air New Zealand, Air Asia, AirAsiaX, All Nippon Airways, Batik Air, Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines, Citilink, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, Batik Air, Phillipine Airlines, Qatar Airways, Scoot, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and Virgin Australia.
- Virgin Australia domestic flights with the VA flight codes also operate from T1.
- Terminal 2 (T2), domestic
- Alliance Airlines, Regional Express Airlines, and Virgin Australia (with XR codes because it was former Skywest routes).
- Terminal 3 (T3) and Terminal 4 (T4) , Jetstar and Qantas terminal
- Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar domestic flights operate from both terminals. Qantas international flights operate from T3, and passengers transferring to/from other airlines pass through Australian immigration, as there are no airside transfers to T1.
Major domestic airlines serving Perth Airport are Qantas (full-service), Virgin Australia (full-service) and its regional affiliate, Jetstar (low-cost, owned by Qantas, only flies to a few cities from Perth), and QantasLink (a regional subsidiary of Qantas).
From T1/2, the easiest option to get to downtown is to hop on the train, which has a flat fare of $5. Trains run every 12-15 minutes and take 20 minutes to the city.
Unfortunately T3/4 are not directly served by rail, although there are shuttle buses to T1/2 and also directly to the train interchange at Redcliffe. The best alternative is the public city bus, which charges the standard 3-zone ticket price of $4.70. Route 40 runs downtown from T3/T4 every 30 mins, taking 40 mins. These buses are limited stop on the airport approaches and suburbs, but downtown you can board or drop off at any regular stop. They terminate at Elizabeth Quay; you can also transfer onto the free city centre buses (see "Get around"). See timetables.
The city and major hotels can also be accessed by taxi and commercial shuttle buses. Courtesy phones are located inside the terminals (for the domestic terminal, the courtesy phone is surrounded by a large board advertising accommodation past the baggage conveyor belt as you leave the arrivals area).
For groups of more than two people, it may be cheapest and fastest to take a taxi into the city (waiting time and drop off of other passengers can make a shuttle bus service to the city very long). A taxi by meter to the city will cost about $40 from either precinct.
For large groups of ten passengers or more, local pre-booked shuttle buses may be a more cost effective option. The shuttle costs about $16 per person. There are many local airport shuttle companies providing new model transit vans and small buses that will transport passengers to their preferred destination rather than dedicated city locations. Airport limousines (stretched limousines) are also available for groups of 10 passengers or more, and can chauffeur clients from the airport to as far as Yanchep in the north or Mandurah in the south.
Car hire is available from all the main companies at T1/T2, at T3/T4, and downtown. There's usually little or no extra charge to pick up at one and drop-off at another Perth location. Many international arrivals will have had a very long flight, a major time switch, and a drink on the way - the drivers' alcohol limit in Australia is near-zero so you'd be illegal. So consider taking the bus into town, acclimatising for a few days and seeing the central sights; then pick up the car downtown, go touring, then return the car to the airport to fly home.
New freeways are under construction to the north of the airport and once open these will change the access options from the north.
A free bus plies between the two precincts, taking 15 min. It leaves T1/T2 at 10, 30 and 50 min past the hour from 6AM to midnight, and at 25 and 55 min past the hour from midnight to 6AN. It leaves T3/4 on the hour, 20 past and 40 past from 6AM to midnight, and 15 past and 45 past from midnight to 6AM. It doesn't serve the car parks; other shuttles do that. This bus uses the internal road connection along Dunreath Drive. Using the public highway it's a 10-km drive between precincts, and a taxi would be at least $20.
There is no airside passenger interconnection between the two precincts. Connecting international passengers will have to pass through Australian immigration and customs before taking the bus, and all connecting passengers will go through security in the departure terminal.
- Public Viewing Area, Terminal 1 before security. A viewing area to see planes take off and land.
Qantas has a variety of lounges at the airport:
- Qantas International Business Lounge.
- Qantas International Transit Lounge.
- Qantas Domestic Business Lounge.
- Qantas Club.
Other airlines also have lounges for their passengers:
- Air New Zealand International Lounge.
- Alliance Airlines.
- Emirates Lounge.
- Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge.
- Virgin Australia Lounge.
Eat and drink
There are a couple of coffee shops and food outlets both before and after security, basic shopping, books and souvenirs. T3 has a few fast-food chains post-security with high-street prices if you're looking for the best value option. There are a couple of bars with a reasonable selection of local beers and wines on offer, together with a bit of space to spread out.
- JR Duty Free shops for both arriving and departing passengers.
- Australian Way souvenir shops for departing passengers.
- Link Newsagents for departing passengers.
- Connect to Perth Airport Free WiFi in terminals 1, 2 and 3.
- Connect to Qantas free WiFi in terminal 4.
- If you don't have a device, then T3 has free Internet terminals, and T4 does not.
- 1 Prayer Room (Quiet Room), Terminal 1 International Ground Floor Arrivals Hall public area. a well hidden non-denominational room for prayer or quiet contemplation.
- 2 Public viewing area Observation Decks (Plane Spotting Area), Terminal 1 International Ground Floor Arrivals Hall public area. There are two dedicated spotting areas at Perth Airport. The T1 International Terminal houses an Observation Deck on Level 3 to view departing and arriving aircraft. It has vending machines, toilets and flight information displays. The second spotting area is to the west side opposing the threshold of Runway 03 located along Dunreath Drive. The public viewing area has a shelter in the shape of the body section of a Boeing 747, and displays of information about the history of aviation.
There are plans for an onsite airport hotel. The following are nearby:
- 1 Sanno Marracoonda Perth Airport Hotel, 46 Kanowna Avenue East, Redcliffe, (1 km from T3/4, 2 km from T1/2, transfer shuttle from the airport). from $119.
Wikivoyage has guides to the following nearby districts of Perth: