Toowoomba’s Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport is now classified as a regional international gateway under Australia’s air services arrangements.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said this meant international airlines would be able to service the airport without any restrictions on trip frequencies.
“I have formally advised my Queensland counterpart of this decision as we continue to work toward a stronger national economy,” he said.
“Cathay Pacific announced that later this month (November) it will commence regular international freight services from Toowoomba to Hong Kong, which is a good first step.”
Federal Member for Groom John McVeigh said the decision would allow producers, manufacturers and other businesses in Queensland to reap the rewards of a localised freight service, and more easily sell fresh produce in the growing Asian market.
Wagners chairman and Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport developer John Wagner said the announcement provided valuable certainty for airlines and the airport in building international services for the region.
“We would like to thank the Federal Government and the Department of Infrastructure and Transport for their continued support in realising the potential opportunities that the airport creates for Queensland,” Mr Wagner said.
Cathay Pacific Airways last month confirmed it would start operating an international weekly scheduled air cargo service out of Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport from November 22.
The freight service will be operated on a Cathay Pacific 747-8F, which will initially depart from Sydney, then land in Melbourne, with a final stop in Toowoomba before the nine-hour direct flight to Hong Kong.
Menzies Aviation, in partnership with Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, will manage the ground handling and cargo terminal operations.
Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, which opened in November 2014, is Australia’s first privately-built public airport.
In addition to its upcoming freight operations, it also has 72 domestic regular passenger transport services in and out of the airport every week.
The airport last month celebrated its first international passenger flight, when more 200 delegates flew to Shanghai for the AccessChina’16 trade mission.