19/02/2020 - 11:50

Rio pledges $15m for third RFDS jet

19/02/2020 - 11:50

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Rio Tinto has purchased a third jet for Western Australia’s aeromedical fleet, as part of a six-year partnership extension with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

Rio pledges $15m for third RFDS jet
The third LifeFlight PC-24 jet will arrive in 2022. Photo: Royal Flying Doctor Service

Rio Tinto has purchased a third jet for Western Australia’s aeromedical fleet, as part of a six-year partnership extension with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

The miner has committed a $15 million investment, on top of the $10 million contribution it made towards the purchase of two LifeFlight PC-24 jets in 2018, both of which have been operating for a year.

RFDS had contributed $26 million towards the two jets, while the federal government invested $4.5 million and Lotterywest $6.5 million.

The PC-24 jets can carry three stretchered patients and two medical teams and fly at a top speed of 815 kilometres per hour.

The new jet, to arrive in 2022, will help boost patient response times, Rio says.

The miner said it had contributed $37.5 million towards the RFDS since partnering with the organisation in 2004.

“Our long-term partnership with the RFDS has focused on helping the organisation enhance and expand its fleet for the great benefit of remote and regional Western Australians,” Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said.

RFDS Western Operations chief executive Rebecca Tomkinson agreed the third jet would strengthen the organisation’s aircraft assets.

“The successful integration of two Rio Tinto LifeFlight PC-24 jets into our fleet over the past year has already put time on our side to save lives, and we anticipate the arrival of a third jet will continue to revolutionise the way our 24-hour aeromedical emergency service is coordinated across the state,” Ms Tomkinson said.

Health Minister Roger Cook said Rio had made a significant investment that would improve the delivery of healthcare for people in regional and remote Australia.

“The RFDS provide an absolutely essential service and by funding a third PC-24 jet, Rio Tinto are helping them further transform their service, expand operations and ultimately save lives,” he said.

Last year, Rio launched a fundraising campaign to help the RFDS fund ongoing aviation costs and purchase aeromedical equipment.

Rio Tinto is the organisation’s principal corporate partner.

Other major partners include CBH Group, Karara Mining and Stan Perron Charitable Foundation.

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