The West Australian, Perth's daily morning newspaper, is reporting Perth Airports annual passenger growth could quadruple to 40 million in the next 17 years, more than double the estimate by the airport owner according to a Western Australian State Government paper.

The WA State Aviation Strategy Issues Paper, which has just been released for comment, warns that "even that figure, which represents a growth of 7.7 per cent a year, is conservative given over the past five years passenger numbers have soared by 9.2 per cent a year".

Plane movements are also breaking records, increasing by 260 per cent since 1992 to 141,000 a year.  The owners of Peerth Airport have dismissed the figures and have commented in their opinion the past is not a good indicator of the future.  The Airport argues most of the demand has been driven by fly-in, fly out workers for the construction phase of big projects and expect the demand to peak about 2015.  Perth Airport also believes that outbound international growth rates for WA will "slow materially over the next years".

Construction of a new regional terminal is under way and work on extensions to the international terminal is set to start shortly. But the paper says these will not be adequate for the growth forecasts.

However, one airline executive believes that "past growth patterns are a better indicator of future trends".

"When you put the oil and gas coupled with mining sector projects together, you would have to say that the growth prognosis for the next 20 years will remain very positive," the executive said.

"Perth will eventually be bypassed by direct connections from the Pilbara to the Eastern States as the Perth experience is simply too hard."  The result of this will put pressure on air services from other states of the Commonwealth of Australia. for full copy of the report.