Qantas has inked a three-year agreement to provide FIFO services to Gina Rinehart’s $9.5 billion Roy Hill iron ore mine.
The contract will see Qantas Airways’ Network Aviation division fly to the site three times a week by mid August using its Fokker F100s.
The value of the deal has not been revealed however The Australian reported the airline expects to expand its services as work at the project ramps up, with a predicted 3600 employers need at the site.
Qantas Domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi said the Roy Hill contract was the latest win for the company and a milestone in the airline's target to develop regional services across Australia.
"The agreement demonstrates Qantas's strength in the fly-in, fly-out business and affirms our strategy of investing and expanding our charter operations through Network Aviation," he said.
Roy Hill's sealed 2.5km Ginbata air strip was certified by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority at the end of May and terminal facilities have also been built.
Roy Hill general manager external affairs Darryl Hockey said Qantas was chosen because of its quality safety record and reliability.
Hockey said the first flights would transport workers involved in preparation works such as earthworks for the processing plant.
"Then we move into what we call foundation works but we don't actually start construction proper until we've got our debt finance in place," he said.
Hockey said the Qantas deal would ensure the right people were available "at the right place at the right time".
"Once production begins in 2015, safe and dependable air services will be critical to the ongoing efficiency and productivity of the Roy Hill operations," he said.
Last year Qantas announced plans to add another 14 aircraft to its fleet to cater to a growing demand for travel from fly-in-fly-out mine workers.
At the time QantasLink executive manager Narendra Kumar said mining geared aviation was expected to grow 50 to 70 per cent over the next few years.
He said Qantas expected to rake in a “sizeable chunk of the market”.