The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) of Western Australia has signed for a third Rio Tinto LifeFlight PC-24, following a $15 million donation for its outright purchase by principal partner Rio Tinto, a metals and mining corporation.
Due to arrive in 2022, the PC-24 jet will boost patient response times and continue to enhance the aeromedical charity, which has become a leader in its field through its jet capability. The announcement comes as RFDS is due to celebrate a significant milestone achievement in its 90-year history in March; the first birthday and successful integration of its first two Rio Tinto PC-24s to its fleet. Both have been in service for a year, helping more than 1,000 patients across more than 1.2 million kilometres.
Minister for Health Roger Cook says: “I'd like to thank Rio Tinto for this significant investment, which will improve the delivery of healthcare for people in regional and remote Western Australia. RFDS provides an absolutely essential service and by funding a third PC-24 jet, Rio Tinto is helping it further transform its service, expand operations and save lives.”
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury adds: “We are proud to support the RFDS in its wonderful efforts to ensure people who live, work or travel across our vast state have access to the world's most advanced and innovative aeromedical capability. Our long-term partnership with RFDS has focused on helping the organisation enhance and expand its fleet for the great benefit of remote and regional Western Australians.”
RFDS Western Operations chief executive officer Rebecca Tomkinson says the purchase will strengthen the service: “We can continue our work as a vital link in the health network of our state. 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.
“We are incredibly proud of our longstanding partnership with Rio Tinto and the ongoing collaboration to support health equity in the regions.”