A sitting of the WA Parliament’s estimates committee has heard direct flights to the region from Sydney are now a strong possibility. But City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley says “infrastructure challenges” due to the lack of a proper passenger terminal could be a major obstacle to them as well as much-desired flights direct from South-East Asia. In Parliament in May, Tourism Minister Roger Cook defended perceived State Government inaction on delivering the much-talked-about terminal for the airport under questioning from Vasse MLA Libby Mettam and “a lot of negative feedback” about long turnarounds for incoming passengers and baggage handling. But the Deputy Premier also spoke favourably about the State Government-supported Jetstar flights from Melbourne to Busselton and said more routes were in discussion. “It (the new route) has been terrifically successful, so much so that Jetstar is immensely pleased with the forward bookings and is now openly talking about the potential for a route from Sydney to Busselton-Margaret River Airport,” Mr Cook said. “This really brings that whole region alive and provides people with an opportunity to explore directly without having to come through Perth.” A Jetstar spokesperson declined to offer any solid details of new routes. “Since we launched our Melbourne-Busselton route on 6 April we’ve seen strong demand and remain focused on working with all the local stakeholders to ensure its continued success,” Jetstar said. Mr Henley previously talked up the potential for South-East Asian flights which needed Customs and quarantine services, but the lacklustre arrangement now in place was inadequate. “While we are extremely keen to expand and/or increase our regular passenger transport services, we are currently facing infrastructure challenges with the existing RPT and increasing FIFO closed charter services,” Cr Henley said. “We are currently working with the State Government to overcome these challenges. “The demand for Melbourne services has been tremendous and it is likely that in the short term the frequency will increase from three days per week. “Sydney is the next likely destination. However, current infrastructure may restrict the ability to facilitate this. “The City has been in discussions with international airlines and our vision is to see these opportunities open up in the future.” Mr Cook said there was evidence Perth residents were also choosing to fly out of Busselton, adding to the region’s tourism economy. The committee hearing heard Tourism WA had marketed the flights and provided $800,000 to the Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association to support the route.