Parks and Wildlife has been asked to consider the landing of commercial seaplanes on the Swan River, as part of an effort to improve tourism opportunities in Perth.
In an effort to gauge the community’s view on this activity, two commercial seaplane operations have been approved on a trial basis on Perth Water. The trial will run until mid-2017.
The first operation involves Catalina Airlines' two-passenger Grumman 'Sea-Cat' seaplane, VH-KKD. The aircraft will land and take off up to eight times per day (i.e. combined maximum of 16 aircraft movements) between the hours of 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 5pm Sunday and public holidays. The majority of landings and take-offs will occur adjacent to the east side of the Mends Street channel or the south side of the Riverside Drive channel. During unusual wind conditions other locations in Perth Water may also be used.
The second operation by Swan River Seaplanes will use one aircraft, a 13 passenger Cessna 208 Caravan Amphibian (VH-MOX). The aircraft will land and take off up to three times per day (i.e. combined maximum of 6 aircraft movements) between the hours of 8:30am to 5pm Monday to Sunday, and 10am to 5pm Sunday and public holidays. The two main landing areas will be, north of the Coode Street channel and east of the Mends Street Channel. During unusual wind conditions other locations in Perth Water may also be used. The seaplane will drop-off and pick up passengers from a temporary fixed floating pontoon at Queen Street Jetty. This temporary platform will be removed following the completion of the seaplane trial.
For both proposals, environmental and social aspects associated with the seaplane movements were considered by Parks and Wildlife, including noise measurements being conducted, prior to the operation beginning. Wildlife monitoring and environmental management procedures have also been put in place by the operator. Air and marine safety aspects of the trial operations have been assessed separately by the relevant authorities, including the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Department of Transport.
Following the completion of both trials, an overall assessment of the seaplane operations on Perth Water will be undertaken, including consideration of any public comments received during the trial period. Future decisions on the long-term use of the Swan River for commercial seaplane operations will be informed by this assessment.