The Royal Flying Doctor Service’s Central Operations division has sold two of its five superseded Pilatus PC-12s to buyers in the United States.
However, the Adelaide based unit, which covers South Australia and Central Australia, has decided to retain the other three as reserve aircraft while the rest of the existing fleet is progressively repainted in the new livery.
The five new PC-12s – the final one of which was commissioned in March – are flying the new colours and one of the retained aircraft has been repainted but five others will be pulled from service progressively to be repainted at Redcliffe in Queensland.
The older aircraft, which retain their medical fit-out, will see further service until then – and may be used as interim aerial ambulances if Central Operations wins the NT Government’s ‘Top End’ contract.
The chief executive of RFDS Central Operations, John Lynch, said the continuing delay in selecting a Top End contractor was having an impact on planning for aircraft disposals and for potential equipment and infrastructure requirements.
The NT work is being conducted on an interim basis by Pelair subsidiary Care Flight, which replaced Pearl Aviation, following a critical report on the incumbent’s operation and ageing aircraft.