The Australian Financial Review is reporting a West Australian private equity firm Centauri is teaming up with the major construction company Laing O'Rourke to propose the development and upgrade of Port Hedland airport.  The airport will then emerge as a major link to Asia.

The $300 million plan will upgrade Port Hedland airport to cater for air cargo and larger passenger aircraft.  The airport is planned to become a major hub in Australia's north west to cut the time to deliver components to the region's resource projects.  There is currently $167 billion of projects under way which could be serviced by the airport.  A further $151 billion in projects are in the pipeline.

The proposed development will boost the airport's ability to transport the ballooning number of workers to the region which are required for resource projects.  About 1 million passengers are forecast to pass through Port Hedland airport by 2025, up from 370 000 that passed through the airport in 2010-11.

Currently there is no dedicated Air Traffic Control Tower service at Port Hedland.  Aircraft arriving and departing Port Hedland are provided a traffic advisory service by Air Traffic Controllers based at Melbourne Airport.  One of the triggers for the consideration for an Air Traffic Control tower at an Australian airport are passenger numbers greater then 300 000 a year.  Port Hedland airport last had a dedicated Air Traffic Control service in the early 1990's with the control tower mothballed after Airservices Australia decided to withdraw the service.

pdf AFR 25 May 2012  for full copy of article.