Busselton Margaret River Airport’s RFDS dedicated transfer facility a game changer

Published on Monday, 10 June 2024 at 11:50:21 AM

There is more good news for the south west community, with today officially marking the opening of a dedicated emergency services transfer facility and apron for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) at the Busselton Margaret River Airport.

Providing unrestricted access, RFDS operations have now been relocated to a bespoke area of the airport enabling 24/7 access without the need for other flight services to be affected in an emergency. This is a fantastic outcome for Busselton and the broader community, and was funded by the Australian Government with a grant of $214,073 through Round 2 of the Regional Airports Program. The City of Busselton contributed $58,031 towards associated works.

The new RFDS facility includes a dedicated apron and patient transfer facility with direct access airside and roadside. The project has not only provided a safe and accessible airstrip set apart from other passenger flights, but it has also enabled a safer patient transfer experience and, critically, decreased delays to this essential medical service.

The dedicated apron allows for greater flexibility, with the RFDS fleet of PC12, PC24 and rescue helicopters able to use the airport.

City of Busselton Acting Mayor Anne Ryan said, “The dedicated facility was much needed and timely. Busselton Margaret River Airport’s flight services have continued to evolve with an ongoing increase in passenger and FIFO flights. This increased airside activity meant that the central apron was often allocated or full, which impacted access for essential medical services.”

“RFDS and St John WA often work under immense pressure and time is critical in emergency situations. This project has been a wonderful opportunity for the City to directly support both of these services and alleviate some this pressure” said Acting Mayor Ryan.

Senator Louise Pratt stated: “The Albanese Labor Government is proud to support both the RFDS and the Busselton Airport with this $214,073 grant from the Regional Airport Program. We recognise the critical work of the RFDS in conjunction with St John WA and the important role played by the Busselton Margaret River Airport in facilitating better outcomes for regional patients. We also know that upgrades like this create jobs, keep communities connected and ultimately leave a lasting legacy. It is our pleasure to support these great organisations in continuing lifesaving work for regional Western Australians.”

RFDS Director of Operations Scott Higgins said, “RFDS landed at Busselton Airport 223 times in 2023 so we welcome this fit-for-purpose precinct which will accommodate our Rio Tinto LifeFlight PC-24 jets, RFDS Fortescue Heli-Med Service helicopters and Pilatus PC-12 aircraft.”

“The nature of the work we do in partnership with St John WA is complex and this will remove the risk of disruption by commercial activity and create privacy for our patients” he said.

St John WA Head of Country Ambulance Karen Stewart said, “St John works closely with RFDS WA to ensure the best outcomes for regional patients and we’re pleased to have been able to successfully support this new airport facility, which includes a much needed patient transfer building for ambulance.”

The RFDS dedicated emergency services transfer facility is an absolute game changer for medical emergencies and patient transfer services. Our continued appreciation is extended to our funding partners supporting the development of the Busselton Margaret River Airport.

Objectives outlined in this statement are aligned with the City of Busselton’s Strategic Community Plan (2021 - 2031) Key Themes Lifestyle: A place that is relaxed, safe and friendly with services and facilities that support our lifestyle.

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