By: Kenith Png, Patrick Sullivan, Timothy Maslin-Davies
The Royal Flying Doctor Service WA chief executive says a State Government funded 500m runway extension launched on Tuesday is incredibly important to their operations.
Rebecca Tomkinson said the extension would allow their larger planes more options for takeoff and landing.
The RFDS is a charity which provides urgent medical care and transport across WA.
This would give greater flexibility to their patient retrieval and transfer services, which fly roughly 23 men, women and children to safety each day across the state.
Jandakot Airport managing director John Fraser said the extension would allow larger aircraft to service the airport in harsh weather conditions, which included the RFDS’s LifeFlight PC-24 jets.
“It’s hard for bigger aircraft in crosswind conditions because the bigger aircraft are obviously heavier and they need a longer runway to take off and to land on,” he said.
The older runways were less suitable for take-off for the Lifeflight jets, which could reach speeds of over 800km/h and carry up to three stretchered patients at a time.
Health Minister Roger Cook said the jets benefited everyone across the state, and the runway would allow the airport to make better use of them going forward.
“Jandakot is one of Australia’s busiest airports and these upgrades will benefit all pilots and the Royal Flying Doctor Service,” he said.
“The jets are critical for the RFDS to continue their outstanding work in servicing the health needs of people in remote parts of Western Australia.”
The extension is part of the airport’s extensive plans for upgrades, with new LED lighting for runways and the resurfacing of the central and north runways already completed.