WA FIFO numbers skyrocket

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Fly-in-fly-out workers using Perth airport have surged beyond the previous 2007-08 boom period, new figures show.

More than a quarter of passengers travelling through Perth airport were on their way to mining projects over the past 12 months.

The Australian reports about 2.2 million passengers were resources related in 2010-11, compared with 1.5 million in the previous 2007-08 boom.

And with the rapid expansions of BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Fortescue Metals Group in the Pilbara, as well as the Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects, the figures are expected to rise further.

Perth airport chief executive Brad Geatches told The Australian it was “incredibly challenging” trying to keep up with demand.

“What’s happening in Perth and Western Australia is on a whole different scale than what’s happening in Queensland and South Australia,” he said.

The figures show charter flights have also surged, and passengers from Perth to Karratha, at 671,000, outnumbered trips from Perth to Adelaide, at 596,000.

The WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy said the resources industry in WA employed about 90,000 people, with 52 per cent on FIFO rosters.

It said by 2015 it expected that figure to grow to 110,000 workers, with 57 per cent on FIFO.

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