Significant and rapid expansion in Fly-In, Fly-Out (FIFO) flights from Perth

ABOVE: A typical weekday morning at Perth Airport – a queue of aircraft operating FIFO contract flights, waiting to depart to a variety of mining and petroleum operations with workers aboard.
In this line up are VH-NIF Brasilia of Network Aviation, VH-NJY RJ100 of Cobham, VH-WGX Metro II of Casair and VH-NJQ RJ100 of Cobham.
Photo © David Eyre

15 November 2011:

A report in The Australian newspaper states that 27% of passengers passing through Perth’s major airline domestic terminals are Fly-In, Fly-Out (FIFO) workers travelling to mining or petroleum operations throughout the resource-rich state of Western Australia.

2.2 million passenger movements in 2010-11 were directly related to FIFO flights, an increase of 700,000 passenger movements when compared to the last peak of 1.5 million in 2007-08.

Of note is the fact that these figures do not include charter flights, which make up a significant proportion of FIFO flights from Perth. Since data on passenger numbers for charter flights are not collected, the landed tonnage is used to indicate the number of passengers, showing a 50% increase in 2010/11, compared to the 2007/08 peak.

In the weekday morning two-hour peak of FIFO flights at Perth Airport, a total of around 3,500 workers departed Perth – 2,000 on major airlines from the domestic terminals, and 1,500 others on charter flights from other terminals. A second busy period occurs between 3pm and 4pm, but there are other FIFO flights throughout the day.

This is expected to increase further, with major mining and petroleum companies pumping billions of dollars into new and existing mining projects in the northwest of WA. The Chamber of Minerals and Energy in WA stated that the resources industry employed about 90,000 people, with 52% on FIFO rosters, and by 2015, the resources industry is expected to employ another 20,000 people, with 57% of the overall total on FIFO contracts.

Reflecting the incredible growth of the Pilbara region of WA, passengers flying to and from Karratha with the major airlines increased 73% since the peak of the last boom, and in 2010/11, more passengers travelled to and from Karratha (671,000) than between Perth and Adelaide (596,000).


David Eyre

President, Aviation Association of WA Inc

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