New Helicopter Rescue Service

Meeke Consulting had a number of clients in the Queensland oil and gas industry who had identified a need for a helicopter rescue service to support their growing workforce and activities in the Surat Basin. It was felt they could otherwise place an unfair demand on pre-existing services provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service and other providers in the public health care and emergency services arena.

It was decided to adopt a ‘shared service’ model based on the West Australian Resources AME (WARAME) service utilising a Citation jet to transport patients between Karratha and Perth. The shared service concept was embraced by the CEOs of the four major gas producers and work began.

We were engaged to provide the aviation expertise to the project; scoping the service, developing the technical specifications, pre-qualifying prospective tenderers, assisting in the ITT package, providing technical and commercial evaluation for the responses and assisting in the tender selection process.

Thereafter we were involved in overseeing the purchase of aircraft, extensive modification program, crew recruitment & training and all other aspects of the mobilisation by the successful tenderer.

The winning bid involved the introduction of two late-model, twin-turbine helicopters (Bell 412EP) fully-equipped and operated by dual aircrew to OGP standards – this being the air safety standard adopted by the oil & gas industry global. Permanent medical personnel (doctors and paramedics) were engaged and the service commenced only 12-months after the first meeting of the steering group.

The 24/7/52 service is operated by a Primary aircraft and crew based in Roma, with Backup aircraft and crews located in Toowoomba where major maintenance is also conducted.

Surplus capacity is offered to the local community and is coordinated by Queensland Health. The service is controlled through the ‘000’ centralised emergency service. Employees of the four member gas companies are provided with a world-class mantle of safety over their operations and numerous lives have already been saved from within the local and neighbouring communities.