The Australian Government has approved the on-airport elements of the A$2bn ($1.4bn) Forrestfield-Airport Link rail project, which will extend Perth’s network.

Work under the project will include construction of twin-bored tunnels running east-west under the main runway and cross runway, and a new below-ground Airport Central Station with pedestrian linkages to existing and future terminals.

The 8km-long twin-rail tunnels will run to the airport from the existing line at Bayswater and end at Forrestfield.

In July, Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended the project for conditional approval.

"This addition will significantly enhance access to and from the airport for Perth residents."

The public transport authority’s (PTA’s) Perth airport link project involves the construction of three stations at Airport West, Consolidated Airport and Forrestfield.

The new rail line and station within Perth Airport will provide a much-needed alternative mode of travel for both staff and passengers, as well as help meet the anticipated growth in passenger numbers through the airport.

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By GlobalData

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said: "The airport link is consistent with development plans outlined in the Perth Airport 2014 Master Plan.

"While the wider Forrestfield-Airport Link project is an extension of the Perth rail network from Bayswater to Forrestfield, this approval applies to an almost 4km section within Perth Airport.

"The airport has been in operation for almost 70 years without a rail line, and this addition will significantly enhance access to and from the airport for Perth residents."

Funded completely by the Western Australian Government, the project will improve Perth Airport’s role as the major gateway to and from Western Australia, as well as provide improved access for business and tourism travellers.

Truss further noted: "By 2034, the Master Plan 2014 indicates that the total (direct and indirect) number of aviation-related full-time employees at the airport could grow to approximately 22,000.

"This airport is already an important regional employer and this expansion will solidify that status.

"Additionally, the total annual number of international and domestic passengers is forecast to grow to about 8.6 million and 20 million respectively, reflecting on the airport’s importance to the national economy.

"Perth Airport is required to make this major development plan available to the public within 50 business days of my approval."

Construction of the tunnel would begin at the end of next year with passenger services expected to start on the rail link in 2020.