Cobham Aviation has won a two-year fly-in fly-out contract to transport Xstrata Nickle Australasia employees to a remote gravel airstrip at the Cosmos Nickel Mine in WA.
The contract utilises Cobham’s recently introduced BAe 146-100 jets fitted with special ‘gravel kits’ giving the jets the capability to operate on rough airstrips.
The kits include rubber paint to protect the underside of the fuselage, a nose wheel stone deflector and a Kevlar undercarriage shield around the main landing gear. The introduction of the gravel kits on the 71-seat BAe 146 came after an 18 month test period and final approval by CASA in January.
Cobham CEO Peter Nottage said the contract with Xstrata demonstrates strong demand for the jet services from the mining sector.
“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,” Nottage said. “Until now, smaller and slower turboprop aircraft were the only aircraft available to XNA to fly workers to its unsealed airstrips in WA.”
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