Royal Flying Doctor Service fleet to grow thanks to State Govt injection


Regional Development Minister Terry Redman, RFDS chief executive Grahame Marshall and Health Minister John Day. Picture: Bryce Luff
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman, RFDS chief executive Grahame Marshall and Health Minister John Day. Picture: Bryce Luff

FOUR new aircraft will be added to the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s (RFDS) fleet thanks to a $23.7 million injection from the State Government.

Announced as part of a $67.39 million Royalties for Regions investment on Monday, the funding will also allow the service to set up a new base in Broome.

RFDS chief executive Grahame Marshall said two new planes would take its fleet to 17 aircraft, with two existing Swiss-built Pilatus PC12s to be replaced.

“We now fly 9000 patients around the state (each year) and over the last five to six years that’s grown about 5 per cent a year,” he said.

“We don’t create demand, we react to it and that’s been reflected by the growth in the state, particularly in regional areas.

“Our Broome base and the additional aircraft are really to service the longer distances around the north of the state.”

The new aircraft cost about $7.5 million each before an additional $500,000 is spent fitting them out with the latest in medical and aviation technology.

The funding announcement followed a $3.9 million Lotterywest grant earlier this year for a new hangar and office space at the RFDS’s Jandakot base.