Australian regional carrier Skywest Airlines has clinched a contract with iron ore company Citic Pacific Mining Management to supply a scheduled shuttle service for Citic employees between Perth and Karratha in Western Australia using an Airbus A320 and a Fokker 100.

The deal - valued at more than A$10 million ($9.1 million) - is for an initial period of a year with an option to extend. Skywest says it will sell around 10% of the seats on this service to "regular travelling members of the public flying to and from Karratha".

The award follows successes by the Perth-based operator in recent years within Western Australia's booming mining and resources sector. Skywest provides a regular fly-in, fly-out service for mining and exploration company Rio Tinto between Perth and Angeles, for Fortescue Metals between Perth and its Cloudbreak iron ore mine and for gold mining company New Crest between Perth and Telfer Goldming. Skywest uses Fokker 100s for all three contracts.

Concerns about Australia's expanding mining and resources industry spawned the introduction in February of the first global aviation standard for the sector. This was developed by the Australian arm of the Flight Safety foundation and leading resource companies that regularly use aircraft for employee movement and aerial work.

The programme is designed to provide clear industry benchmarks for resource companies when assessing the safety of contracted aviation services.

Source: Flight International