The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

A little airport ode

Monday 4 January 2010 at 10:20 pm

Twilight at Perth Airport, photo by vincentq
photo by vincentq

Dear Perth Airport,

I have oft ragged on you before, but I must say, my recent trip through the international terminal was surprisingly decent. Since the not-so-great renovation of early ’09, the food sucks less, and the couches (couches!) and showers (showers!) are a nice touch.

Don’t get me wrong, you’re still lame. Copying Sydney’s oh-look-now-I’m-in-duty-free thing is annoying, the lack of facilities for connecting flights saddens me, and public transport, *ahem*.

But my expectations were pretty low, and they were exceeded! (… a little bit)

a weary traveller.


Randomly: card games, airport security, trains!

Wednesday 1 July 2009 at 6:10 pm
  • Two weeks ago, a small town on the outskirts of Phoenix in Arizona held a local government election. They counted exactly equal votes for the candidates — so in equal parts publicity stunt and tie-breaking process, the two guys involved drew high cards. Courtesy of an obscure and not even that old Arizona law, the decision is totally legit!
  • Something else I missed last week: on Monday, a company called CLEAR that ran separate security lanes at most big American airports shut down abruptly. Their service always struck me as questionable — pay us money and we’ll overlook normal security measures! — and they never did get all the official approvals they needed, so I’m amused that the recession has killed their little scam. (Heck, second-tier frequent flyers get much the same benefit; maybe that’s why I’ve never seen anyone use a “Fly CLEAR” lane.)
  • According to my local papers, an equal (or bigger!) issue than the California budget is the proposal to build a high-speed railway to LA (which won financial backing at referendum last November). It’s a curious thing to watch Bay Area residents whine about whether to spend billions on above-ground tracks or billions more below ground, while around them the state runs out of cash. (Admittedly, the project has a good chance of getting federal money, and the planning phase has at least a year left in it, nevermind the ten-ish years scheduled to build the thing.)
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Looking back upon Perth for a moment

Friday 2 May 2008 at 3:03 pm
  • So the owners of Perth Airport have finally announced a plan to upgrade the freakin’ thing. Coming home will be that much less painful … from 2015! In fact, said owners are so reluctant to get this process started that they have little more than a map to show — the press release contains the lovely admission that “concept designs are still being developed”. Going on what they have said, the plan isn’t bad, but neither is it great (regional terminal? yay! such a long walk away? eek!). And it’s still likely to turn out less than adequate — by their own boasting, passenger numbers are consistently growing a good 13% each year.
  • The State Government re-announced this week the Riverside development in East Perth, which is nice, and that Transperth fares will go up, which is less so.
  • And finally, the dear State Liberal Party is talking leadership spill again (over some stupid little indiscretion; does anyone even remember the Ruddster’s strip club incident?). Seriously kids, the election is nine months away. If you’re bickering about this now, your chances of success are zero.

Alternative government, the CCC axe, and Tsonga vs. Ðoković

Friday 25 January 2008 at 11:21 pm
  • Remember how, during the election campaign, it often seemed that Team Ruddster wasn’t really that different to Team Howard? It certainly sounded that way this week, with the Defence Minister promising that spending levels won’t change, the Foreign Minister promising to keep the American alliance strong and the Human Services Minister promising yet another crackdown on people receiving Centrelink payments.
  • In Perth, oh look, the CCC has claimed another scalp! But this time it’s the super-high-profile boss of the WA Health Department, Neale Fong. In honesty I wasn’t nearly as impressed by his performance in that job as the Health Minister seemed to be, and so I’m not exactly sad to see him go.
  • Shock, horror, demand at Perth Airport continues to grow. Meanwhile, the owners are still stuffing around with barely-adequate carparks ever further from the run-down domestic terminals.
  • Finally, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Rafael Nadal! And Novak Ðoković beat Roger Federer! Both in straight sets! Excuse me while I lift my jaw off the floor. The men’s Australian Open final is going to be very interesting …
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Maybe not quite what he meant

Friday 26 October 2007 at 11:40 pm

Letter from John Jamieson, Liberal candidate for Fremantle

Alongside the news yesterday of John Howard repeating a $400m pledge for road upgrades across Perth (half of which is for the highways around Perth Airport in partnership with its owners; what, you say, the airport needs money elsewhere?!) was the first letter in my mailbox to tell me who my Liberal candidate is.

What struck me, apart from the absence of commitments to spend money in the region (which I think is the most prominent feature of Liberal campaigning so far), was this line near the end: “Don’t experiment with your vote.”


This seat has been held by Labor for decades.

It’d be an experiment to vote Liberal …


A long-term infrastructure solution

Wednesday 22 August 2007 at 4:46 pm

[Qantas and Malaysia Airlines planes at Perth Airport]

Dear Macquarie Bank,

Please buy Perth Airport. No, really, please.

The current owners are so spineless they’d probably hand over control if you so much as sneezed in their direction.

All you need to do is get your airports fund to weave some of that debt-engineering magic for desperately-needed upgrades — there’s even a decade-old master plan to tell you what needs to be done. Then you could start talking to people like Gulf Air or EgyptAir and set Perth up as a transit point for Melburnians going to Africa or the Mid-East.

This would be far better than the current upgrade strategy: an extra carpark from the airport’s owners, and a patch-up of the terminal owned by Qantas, who announced yesterday that they’re splurging $50m for an entire two extra check-in counters, a single new aerobridge, and a single new baggage carousel. Whoop-de-freakin’-do.

Unlike Qantas management, you’ve shown yourselves able to locate Perth on a map (even if just for your failed Alinta bid; ’tis a shame, since the winning offer is so very messy). Despite the criticism of what you’ve done at Sydney Airport, I really don’t think your management could be anything but better than what we’ve currently got.

a disgruntled Perthling and airport user

P.S. while I’ve got your attention, have you been speaking to the PM lately? All this talk of hoarding away tax dollars sounds like he’s trying to turn the Commonwealth into an investment bank or something.