Rio Tinto to put third RFDS jet to flight

A Flying Doctor jet sponsored heavily by Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto has bought Western Australia’s third Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) jet with a $15 million pledge.

This is part of a six-year partnership extension between Rio Tinto and RFDS to improve healthcare for regional West Australian communities.

The Rio Tinto LifeFlight PC-24 jet, which is due to arrive in 2022 will further boost patient response times alongside two Rio Tinto LifeFlight jets which have been in service for over a year.

“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,” Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said.

“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 has contributed $37.5 million to the RFDS since 2004.

RFDS western operations chief executive Rebecca Tomkinson said Rio Tinto’s purchase of a third jet would strengthen and expand RFDS’ aircraft assets for the future.

“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,” she said.

Western Australian Minister of Health Roger Cook said the RFDS provided an absolutely essential service.

“By funding a third PC-24 jet Rio Tinto are helping them further transform their service, expand operations and ultimately save lives,” he said.