Royal Flying Doctor Service: New $13m jet to cut emergency flight time in half

Headshot of Josh Zimmerman
Josh ZimmermanThe West Australian
The RFDS now has two $13m PC-24 jets to help transport ill and injured patients from regional WA.
Camera IconThe RFDS now has two $13m PC-24 jets to help transport ill and injured patients from regional WA. Credit: Facebook/Metragnome Images

Critically ill and injured patients in regional WA will be flown to Perth quicker, thanks to the arrival of a second $13 million Royal Flying Doctor Service jet.

The latest PC-24 jet, named ‘Kimberley’, touched down in Perth on Friday night before it’s scheduled relocation to Broome to provide life-saving support to the north of the State.

The jet can carry three stretchered patients and two medical teams at a time and has been hailed a “game changer” by RFDS WA chief executive officer Rebecca Tomkinson.

“What that will enable us to do (for instance) is take twin babies on board the single aircraft and also to ensure the family is on board as well,” Ms Tomkinson said.

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“So you can appreciate at a time of most dramatic need, having family there with you and being able to keep the babies together is a great innovation and a real step change in the service we can provide today.”

The first PC-24 jet, dubbed ‘Victory, started with the RFDS in late January and has already transported 70 patients on 30 journeys. Victory will be based in Perth to service the southern half of WA.

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The two new PC-24 jets were jointly funded by the State Government via Lotterywest ($6.5m), the Commonwealth ($4.5m), Rio Tinto ($10m) and RFDS WA itself.

Unveiling Kimberley this morning, Premier Mark McGowan said the state-of-the-art technology on board both jets was the best in Australia.

“It will halve the time in which patients can get back to a hospital in Perth,” Mr McGowan said.

“It is a dramatic improvement in the service and we are so pleased to be able to support a great WA institution the RFDS.”

The two new PC-24s join RFDS WA’s existing fleet of 16 PC-12 turboprop aircraft.

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