Perth airport mulls new taxiways to lift capacity

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Perth airport is considering to build rapid exit taxiways to up its capacity after experiencing reduction in delays from the implementation of a schedule co-ordination system earlier this year.

The system, which requires operators to apply for slots during busy periods for both arrivals and departures, was one of 24 recommendations made by UK air traffic services provider NATS to improve the airport's operating efficiency under the airport capacity enhancement (ACE) programme.

Perth airport has been struggling in recent years to cope with major growth in aircraft movements, largely as a result of increased resource industry charters.

Airport chief executive Brad Geatches says that since the system was implemented in February, delays are down by approximately 60% for arrivals and 70% for departures.

"In addition to the Schedule Coordination System, Perth airport has responsibility for assessing and delivering five other key recommendations identified as part of the ACE Programme, and we are currently evaluating the introduction of Rapid Exit Taxiways in addition to those recommendations," says Geatches.

The new taxiways will allow aircraft to exit the runway at higher speeds, helping to increase the number of possible aircraft movements.

Other recommendations made in the ACE report relate to the airport's operational systems, and cover changes to air traffic control procedures that are being implemented by Airservices Australia.

He adds that the airport has "implemented or are well progressed in delivering each of the five recommendations which will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of traffic flows and overall airport performance and runway throughput".

With the implementation of those measures, air traffic services provider Airservices Australia estimates that the airport's capacity could increase by up to 15%.

"However, we are also committed to delivering Rapid Exit Taxiways and further infrastructure enhancements to improve capacity even further," says Geatches.