Fortescue Metals Group has celebrated the first of its Western Australian charter flights from Busselton to its operations in the Pilbara in a bid to improve safety by keeping workers off the road.
The South West is home to Fortescue’s second largest FIFO worker hub with more than 460 employees, behind the Pilbara region’s 600 workers.
The new flights will be trialled for 12 months from Busselton to Fortescue’s Eliwana and Solomon mining hubs.
Fortescue Eliwana general manager Katie Charuga-Andrijasevic said this development improved safety as much as convenience.
“The safety and wellbeing of the Fortescue family is our highest priority, and the introduction of this new service will assist our team members and contractors with managing their fatigue by reducing the need for travel between Perth and the South West region,” she said.
Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said the company was committed to making the lives of its employees easier.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to regional FIFO workforces, Fortescue is extending our flight network to Busselton to support our team members living in the South West region with more flexibility and family-friendly options,” Gaines said.
This is hoped to boost the company’s workforce, mitigating the effects of labour shortages and providing significant economic benefit to the South West community.
City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley said it was a terrific development for a growing region of Western Australia.
“The City welcomes Fortescue to the Busselton-Margaret River Airport and the support of the resources sector for local residents,” Henley said.
“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.”
Busselton-Margaret River airport is 230 kilometres south of Perth airport, taking roughly 2.5 hours off FIFO workers’ commute time.