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Rio Tinto Life Flight

The new Rio Tinto Life Flight jet first took to the skies over Western Australia in October 2009, thanks to the help of mining company, Rio Tinto, who initially contributed $5 million to the project over three years, and more recently commiting a further $6 million for another four years. 

Rio Tinto Life Flight  is a Hawker 800XP2 aircraft, which was purchased in the USA, rebadged and outfitted with a customised Lifeport PLUS aeromedical configuration.

RFDS lifejet  








“It is the only permanently configured aeromedical jet anywhere in Australia with the capacity to carry three stretcher patients and up to three clinical staff at once,” said RFDS Western Operations’ Medical Director, Dr Stephen Langford.

“The jet can fly non-stop from any location in Western Australia to Perth within three hours and it can undertake interstate transfers without refuelling stops in most circumstances,” he said.

“It can also undertake faster Flying Doctor retrievals from offshore locations, such as the Australian territories of Cocos and Christmas Islands, and has the advantage of a dedicated aeromedical layout to help us treat and care for almost any patient.”

“Seriously ill babies also benefit as this jet can easily load and carry the specialised Mansell Neocots used by Princess Margaret Hospital and, when requested, we will be able to take babies to specialist medical care interstate.

“Importantly, the addition of the Rio TintoLife Flight jet to the State’s disaster response resources enhances WA’s capacity to respond quickly and effectively to mass casualty incidents, of which we’ve had several in recent times,“ Dr Langford said.

RFDS transfers are decided on the basis of medical need and take place free of charge to the patient.

As Jandakot Airport does not have the facilities to cater for the housing or maintenance of jet aircraft, Rio Tinto Life Flight is based at Maroomba Airlines at Perth Airport.  

Support for the new RFDS Rio Tinto Life Flight jet service


  • The WA Government using funds from the Royalties for Regions program. 
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service in Victoria.
  • The RFDS Flying 1000 fundraising group in Western Australia. 








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