Cobham to Fly Jets to Gravel Airstrip for Xstrata Nickel Australasia

Cobham has won a two-year Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) contract to fly Xstrata Nickel Australasia (XNA) employees by jet for the first time to the remote gravel airstrip at the Cosmos Nickel Mine in Western Australia.

The contract utilizes Cobham’ s recently introduced BAe146-100 jets fitted with “gravel kits” - air frame protection kits that allow operations from unsealed or gravel airstrips. The agreement is Cobham’s first FIFO contract with XNA incorporating gravel kit-equipped BAe146s that are accredited under the Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS) of the Flight Safety Foundation.

Peter Nottage, Vice President of Cobham Aviation Services, said: “This is our first agreement with Xstrata and it further illustrates the growing demand for our gravel kit- equipped BAe146s by successful companies operating in Australia’s booming mining and energy sectors. The new service means faster and more comfortable flights for XNA workers and subcontractors in larger aircraft, creating significant savings in the longer term for the mining company. Until now, smaller and slower turboprop aircraft were the only aircraft available to XNA to fly workers to its unsealed airstrips in Western Australia.”

Cobham began flying five services a week with the 71-seat BAe146-100 aircraft in mid-March from Perth to the Cosmos Nickel Mine 650km northeast of Perth.

This new contract follows a FIFO contract extension with Minara Resources to its Murrin Murrin Nickel Mine, 900km northeast of Perth, a FIFO contract renewal for Santos in South Australia and services using gravel kit-equipped jets to Kambalda, Western Australia, for a mining consortium.

“We are glad to be associated with Cobham Aviation following a thorough review,” said Al Coutts, Executive General Manager of XNA. “The solution presented is unique in many respects; it increased flexibility in a cost effective manner, allowing us to focus capital investment in our mining assets as opposed to supporting infrastructure.”

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Source: Cobham Plc (LSE: COB.L)
Date: Sep 14, 2012