The Cape Preston (Sino Iron) Aerodrome was officially opened today by Minister for Mines and Petroleum, the Hon Bill Johnston MLA and CITIC Pacific Mining (CPM) CPM Chairman, Mr Zhang Jijing.

The ceremony was attended by community leaders, Traditional Owners, contractor partners and staff representatives.

Mr Zhang said the purpose-built facility - capable of accommodating Fokker F100 aircraft - was constructed on time and budget.

“The reasons to proceed (with the aerodrome) were compelling. And they’re all underpinned by the benefits that come with cutting travel time for our staff,” Mr Zhang said.

From a safety point of view, the aerodrome means less fatigue and a quicker emergency response capability.

The direct flights also provide a greater operatiing efficiencies.

CPM Chief Executive Officer Chen Zeng said the project was outside the company’s usual scope of work and that good working partnerships underpinned its success.

“The key to construction success was a strong working relationship with WA contractors – headed by Decmil and supported by many Karratha-based subcontractors. We also worked closely with charter operator Alliance Airlines to ensure the facility would be ready to go from day one,” Chen said.

The new aerodrome, which sees about a dozen flights land each week, has been embraced by staff, who no longer have to fly from Perth to Karratha and then back-track 100km by road, to get to work.

Following the opening, guests toured the fully integrated project.