Western Australia's national and international air links were reaching a higher level of maturity with new arrangements with South East Asia and the entry of Qantas on domestic routes, Tourism Minister Pam Beggs said today.
"The announcement that Qantas would begin carrying passengers interstate from November 1 is particularly welcome," Mrs Beggs said.
"WA should benefit as it will introduce a degree of competition that has been lacking since the grounding of Compass almost 12 months ago.
"It also opens the way for special east-west Qantas flights that will attract more visitors to WA from the east coast."
The State Government had pushed strongly for the Commonwealth to open domestic routes to Qantas. It had been part of the Government's WA Advantage economic strategy.
Mrs Beggs said a new deal with Indonesia on air traffic rights and the entry of Sempati Air also would give WA greater access to the South East Asian tourist market.
"New operators on the Indonesia-Perth routes will mean there is greater competition and more seats available to visitors to the State," she said.
"This will open up markets to our inbound tourism operators as well as enabling Australian airline companies to service the Indonesian market.
"In particular, it presents new opportunities for our northern ports such as Port Hedland and Broome to develop further as gateways to Australia.
"It is important that scheduled air services between the North-West and South East Asian ports such as Bali, Jakarta and Singapore are opened up from both a tourist and trade point of view.
"South East Asia is a growing market for Western Australian tourism and trade and more regular air links are essential if this market is to be tapped more fully."