Perth's new domestic terminal to open in early 2013

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Construction of Perth's new domestic terminal, scheduled to open in early 2013, is almost complete.

The terminal, the first to be built in Perth in 26 years, will cater to regional travel in western Australia, facilitating travel for many fly-in fly-out passengers across the state.

It will have 16 check-in counters, 14 aircraft gates, three baggage claim belts and a spacious departure lounge.

The terminal is part of a A$750 million ($783 million) expansion and redevelopment project at Perth airport, which is expected to handle up to 20 million passengers by 2020. The airport handled 12.6 million passengers in FY2011/12, a rise of 10.3% from a year earlier.

Expansion works began at the airport's international arrival hall at Terminal 1 in June.

The terminal's immigration area and baggage claim hall will be relocated and expanded to minimise queuing and waiting times.

"The international arrivals expansion will be completed by the middle of 2014 and will significantly improve the customer experience for western Australians and visitors to our state," says Perth Airport's chief executive Brad Geatches.

The construction of a new domestic pier and expansion of the international departure hall is also expected to start later this year. Tenders for these projects, the "most complex" of Perth's redevelopment programme, will close on 10 September.

"With the new domestic terminal currently being built in close proximity to the international terminal, it will primarily service regional western Australia as well as some interstate routes from 2013," says Geatches.

He adds that the addition of the domestic pier at Terminal 1 will enable passengers to transfer seamlessly between regional interstate and international flights.

The new domestic pier, measuring 200m (656ft) in length, will include facilities like spacious check-in and arrival halls and a premium lounge for Virgin Australia.

The international departure hall, meanwhile, will have a new check-in area with 18 additional check-in counters and a new lounge.

The Terminal 1 domestic pier and international departures expansion project includes a "significant extension" of the existing terminal and the addition of a new two-storey pier.

Construction of an Airbus A380 gate will also be fast-tracked within the next 12 months to facilitate the introduction of regular A380 services by airlines.