Plane a boost for RFDS

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History will be made in Broome later this year when the Royal Flying Doctor Service introduces a new plane to the town.

The RFDS will station a Pilatus PC-24 at its Broome base by the end of the year and be the first in the world to use the plane for aero medical retrieval.

The plane will have the capacity to carry three stretchers and two medical crews and enhance service times for patients.

RFDS WA chief executive Rebecca Tomkinson said the plane would increase efficiency in the region.

“We will be the very first to use this for aero medical retrieval anywhere in the world, which is very exciting,” she said.

“Introducing this new plane will allow us to get patients to medical care faster and respond to growing demand in the Kimberley.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to our operations, despite advancements in technology and the capability of our professional team.”

Ms Tomkinson said the plane would be used in addition to the existing PC-12 fleet, which the organisation has used for nearly two decades.

“It is the combination of the two types of aircraft that is very important, as the capability between them will ensure we cater to patients’ needs in the best way possible,” she said.

“There is still an important place for the PC-12s, which we consider the workhorse of the airline industry, particularly in aero medical retrieval work.”

The Broome PC-24 jet will be one of two imported by the RFDS, with the only other one based in Perth.

Ms Tomkinson said this highlighted the role the Kimberley plays in RFDS WA operations.

“More than 25 per cent of work that we do in the State comes out of the Kimberley,” she said.

“We help out about 33 people each week in the region, including around six children.

“The Broome base is a very active base for us and it still continues to grow and this new aircraft will help us to deliver the best service we can for the Kimberley.”

The Broome RFDS base is the only one in the Kimberley, after the Derby branch was closed last year.

The facility was launched in 2016 and is located at Broome International Airport.

The organisation relies on corporate partners, the business community and philanthropy for funding.

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