Qantas could operate ultra-long-haul flights from Perth – under its ‘Project Sunrise’ programme – as part of a wider ramp-up to expand the west Australian city into its second-largest international hub. 

The move comes as Qantas and Perth Airport signed a multi-year commercial agreement that sees the airport operator make a A$5 billion ($3.3 billion) capital investment that will see a new centralised terminal and a new runway built, among other additional facilities. The agreement also sees Qantas building a new engineering facility at the airport.  


Source: Wikimedia Commons

The new centralised terminal is expected to be operational by 2031, while the new runway - the airport’s third - will be built by 2028. Perth currently has four passenger terminals, with Qantas using Terminals 3 and 4. 

“Qantas and Jetstar will relocate all services to a new terminal…that will, along with the airline’s major investment in new aircraft, enable the growth required to turn Western Australia into a major domestic and international hub for the airlines,” the airline states.

In the interim, Perth Airport will also carry out upgrading works at Terminals 3 and 4 to create additional capacity. Qantas says this will allow it to expand its international network out of Perth, adding Auckland and Johannesburg “from mid-2025”.

“The works will also include gate upgrades to accommodate ultra-long-haul aircraft, including its ‘Project Sunrise’ Airbus A350s which arrive from 2026,” the Oneworld carrier adds, without elaborating further. 

Qantas’ ‘Project Sunrise’ plans currently cover ultra-long-haul flights from Australia’s eastern coast - cities like Sydney and Melbourne - to New York and the UK. 

The agreement - the largest-ever private infrastructure investment in Perth - comes after years of impasse about airport expansion plans. According to local media reports, Perth Airport had been pushing for a consolidation of airport terminals for several years, but has hit by several roadblocks, including the pandemic and Qantas’ wariness to pursue the deal due to financial pressures.