The Western Operations division of Australian fixed-wing air ambulance operator Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has unveiled its newest Port Hedland fleet member, a Pilatus PC12.
Over $5 million was raised to purchase the aeromedical PC12 thanks to the assistance of The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CME) and 22 Western Australian resource and primary industry companies. An additional $2 million in funding was also received from the Australian Government to boost the capability of the RFDS in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since arriving in Western Australia from the Pilatus factory in Switzerland, the new aircraft has been equipped with the signature RFDS aeromedical equipment including ventilators, stretchers and patient monitors.
The aircraft will transport an estimated 500 patients each year and will be essential to the RFDS meeting the expected increase in demand for its service. In Western Australia, the RFDS responds to an average of 27 patients each day.
“As we all continue to prepare for the evolving challenges of COVID-19, having additional capability to meet the increasingly diverse needs in regional Western Australia is of upmost importance,” says RFDS Western Operations CEO Rebecca Tomkinson. “The RFDS remains Western Australia's only aeromedical provider for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients and this new aircraft is a great all-rounder in terms of capacity, amenity, speed, range and performance. To date, we have transported 134 suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.”
CME chief executive Paul Everingham says the WA mining and resources sector was delighted to give back to the communities in which it operates. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people is always our sector's number one priority, and that commitment extends to communities right around WA. The reality is that our member company operations can only be successful through close collaboration with those communities.”