AURIGA Group has entered a contract with Rio Tinto to provide aviation marine pilot transfers in the Pilbara.

Auriga said an airbase will be built at Karratha airport to support pilot services in the ports of Dampier and Walcott.

The company will use three Airbus H135 Helionix helicopters to provide the aviation services.

Auriga Group CEO Trent Lonsdale said the company was very pleased to be partnering with Rio Tinto on the initiative.

“Auriga is committed to providing the highest quality service possible for our clients, and this new contract allows us to demonstrate our ability to deliver on our promises,” he said.

Auriga plans to bring new talent on board for its Pilbara operations. The company is offering scholarships for Indigenous first officers and positions for apprentice engineers.

The group said the positions are open exclusively to Indigenous candidates in the region. Auriga noted it also offers other training pathways for cadet pilots and first officers.

“We are extremely proud that we can offer these opportunities,” Auriga chief operating officer Keith Thompson said.

“It is important that we support local Indigenous communities where possible, and along with other career pathway and community initiatives, I am confident that these initiatives will make a real difference,” he said.

“The award of this important Rio Tinto contract provides an excellent opportunity for all current and future professional rotary wing aviators and engineers to join our team at various functional levels.

“We will continue to augment exiting career pathway programs and will be going to market in the coming months with further announcements and recruitment activities for line captains, first officers, engineers, and apprentices.”

Auriga said its aviation recruitment activities are well-advanced in preparation for operations to start next year.