Plans for mining flights expand due to increased demand
CHARTERED mining flights will likely expand beyond the current hubs of Brisbane and the Gold Coast as high demand begins to delay flights.
Brisbane Airport has reported flights running up to 40 minutes late on weekday afternoons because of a glut in passengers returning after a shift change.
The topic arose during a panel discussion at the Major Projects Conference in Brisbane which included representatives from Queensland Airports, Alliance Airlines, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, Adagold Aviation and the Western Downs Council.
Queensland Airports managing director Dennis Chant said as congestion increased on the tarmac in Brisbane, mining firms would hunt for more locations.
Mr Chant said the industry took little interest in scouting new airports to dispatch fly-in, fly-out workers because Brisbane served them well.
That was starting to change as other sites ask to help carry the load.
"The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast have made their intentions clear they see opportunities in that space," Mr Chant said.
"It's about getting all sectors of industry together to say we can support a new service.
BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance asset manager Stephen Dumble said he would like to see workers coming from wherever suited them.
"We are interested in extending the benefits of what we are doing as widely as we can," Mr Dumble told the conference.
"We see south-east Queensland as a whole, and in that regard, the providers who can give the best combination in service and skills will position themselves well."
Alliance Airlines boss Scott McMillan went further, saying Queensland workers could be flown to parts other parts of the country, not just kept nearby.
"It's not just focusing on Queensland, but on a national perspective as well."
A report from Griffith University this week outlined the potential health issues linked to fly-in, fly-out workers.
Mr Dumble said BMA was working to ensure its two new operations Daunia and Caval Ridge - both of which will rely on a fly-in work force - did all it could to have workers kept safe whether departing or arriving at the mine site.