Qantas chairman Richard Goyder has called on Perth Airport to immediately withdraw termination notices issued to the airline on Friday, saying they amounted to eviction notices and would result in operations at the airport stopping within a fortnight.
On Friday morning, Perth Airport signalled it was prepared to begin tearing up several leases of its biggest customer, as tensions between the two businesses reached a breaking point over claims Qantas owed $20 million in aviation and rental fees unpaid since February.
Of Qantas’ 39 leases, 18 are in short-term “holdover” arrangements and 21 are current.
Perth Airport chief executive Kevin Brown said action had to be taken and Qantas had been served breach notices for non-payment on current leases and 30-day notices that all holdover leases would not be renewed.
“We understand Qantas needs to keep trading and that the significant profits it is generating from these lucrative FIFO flights are crucial to them,” he said.
“But paying nothing while using all of the airport’s services is no longer an option.”
Mr Brown said the airport would not touch leases that impacted vital freight, repatriation and FIFO flights that had been continuing throughout the pandemic but called on the airline to “do the right thing” and negotiate.
In a statement, Qantas described the 39 letters as “eviction” notices and warned if they were not withdrawn, Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar would be forced to cease operations through Perth within two weeks.
“Qantas has struck deals with most airports around Australia, and is