15/10/2021 - 11:02

Fortescue debuts South West to Pilbara flight

15/10/2021 - 11:02

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A charter flight departing from the Busselton-Margaret River airport to Fortescue Metals Group's Pilbara operations marked the first of its kind for the company’s regional fly-in, fly-out workers.

Fortescue debuts South West to Pilbara flight
Over 460 of Fortescue’s employees are based in WA's South West. Photo: Fortescue Metals

A charter flight departing from the Busselton-Margaret River airport to Fortescue Metals Group's Pilbara operations marked the first of its kind for the company’s regional fly-in, fly-out workers.

The flight begins a 12-month trial planned for the company which is set to include weekly flights from South West to Fortescue’s Eliwana and Solomon iron-ore mining hubs.

In addition, Fortescue says implementing the scheme makes it the only Pilbara-based company offering flights between all its mine sites and the major communities of Karratha, Port Hedland, Broome, Kununurra and Fitzroy Crossing.

Over 460 of Fortescue’s employees reside in the South West, making the region its second largest regional FIFO hub after the Pilbara which hosts over 600 team members.

Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said the flights aimed to provide its FIFO workforce with more flexibility and family-friendly options.

“In line with our commitment to ensuring regional communities benefit from our growth and development, we are confident this service will provide significant economic benefits and offer new job opportunities for people living in Busselton and surrounding towns,” Ms Gaines said.

City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley said he welcomed the support from the resources sector for local residents.

“FIFO operations continue to bring essential revenue into the airport during COVID times, supporting both the local and state economy and ensuring jobs for South West people.”

In offering these flights, Fortescue joins fellow resources heavyweight Rio Tinto which began a fly-in fly-out programme from Busselton to its Pilbara operations in 2007.

Plans for broader flight offerings from the Busselton-Margaret River airport have been hindered by COVID-19 induced border closures and ambiguity on funding for terminal upgrades.

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