New heliport a boost for jobs, business

Robert DoughertyNorth West Telegraph
Oil and gas workers board a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter at the Port Hedland International Airport's new heliport.
Camera IconOil and gas workers board a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter at the Port Hedland International Airport's new heliport. Credit: North West Telegraph

You would be forgiven for thinking there is more air traffic in Hedland lately as Port Hedland International Airport officially opens its new heliport.

The ground floor of the airport operations building has undergone about $100,000 worth of refurbishments to create a dedicated security screening, baggage and passenger centre for the oil and gas industry.

PHIA operations general manager Rod Evans said the area was previously used by State Emergency Services and the Town of Port Hedland but had fallen into disuse.

“We’ve got two S-92 heli-copters from Bristow Helicopters Australia based here for the three to four months,” he said.

“They commenced flights offshore on Easter Tuesday and are undertaking one or two flights every day.”

“The people coming off afternoon flights are processed through the heliport and put onto the helicopter bound for the oil rigs — and the reverse happens for those coming back. Previously, it was operated as a satellite out of Karratha so we’ve attracted that business, which we are very happy about.”

Mr Evans said the development brought numerous benefits including sustainability of services, local employment, accommodation, spending from visitors and industry confidence.

North West Aviation Services operations manager Paul Murphy and PHIA airport operations projects, administration and communications manager Victoria Shorter at the new heliport.
Camera IconNorth West Aviation Services operations manager Paul Murphy and PHIA airport operations projects, administration and communications manager Victoria Shorter at the new heliport. Credit: Pictures: Robert Dougherty

Bristow Helicopters Australia flight operations supervisor Nicola Freeman said each helicopter trip would take about 45 minutes and could carry 19 people.

“The airport has been redesigned to be more efficient and allow more capacity — it’s streamlined,” she said. “It encourages business to Hedland, the local jobs and the accommodation for our pilots — it brings in people to Port Hedland and makes it an attractive alternative for North West shelf travel.”

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