Cobham awarded OZ Minerals Prominent Hill contract

Cobham Aviation Services will replace Alliance Airlines under a two-year FIFO contract to link the OZ Minerals copper-gold mine at Prominent Hill, 130km south-east of Coober Pedy in remote South Australia.

Cobham will use a mix of 99-passenger RJ100 jets and sub-contracted 30-passenger turboprops to meet requirements for the OZ Minerals mine.

It is believed the likely sub-contractor will be RossAir, which recently moved two Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia turboprops from Perth to Adelaide.

However, a Cobham spokeswoman said the move to sub-contract a turboprop for the new service was still being negotiated.

Alliance Airlines confirmed this week that its Prominent Hill contract, operated with Fokker 50s, would end on August 11..

The value of the OZ Minerals deal has not been disclosed. It represents the first new FIFO contract won by Cobham this year.

Peter Nottage, chief executive of Cobham Aviation Services, said the group was delighted to win the contract in “a highly cost-driven environment”.

Cobham would operate up to 20 flights a week between Adelaide, Port Augusta and Prominent Hill, he said.

The deal would sustain 15 new jobs in Adelaide, mostly for flight and cabin crew, and the aircraft would be maintained at Cobham’s Adelaide engineering base.

The two-year contract includes a three-year extension option.

John Penhall, general manager of Prominent Hill, said the change from Alliance to Cobham would enable the mining company to increase its operating flexibility and maintain “capital discipline” without compromising the level of FIFO services for mine employees.

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