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Yesterday marked an historic event for Queensland aviation. The first plane landed at Toowoomba’s new Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, the country’s first privately-built airport. Conceptualised, built and paid for in an impressively short time frame by the Wagner family of Toowoomba, the new jet-capable airport is now open for business. QantasLink flight QF2017 left Wellcamp Airport yesterday morning at 9:55am for Sydney, with 74 passengers aboard. The flight, of one hour 35 minutes, aboard the newly re-christened Q400 aircraft, Darling Downs, touched down in Sydney at 12.35pm. QantasLink plans to run 11 return Sydney-Toowoomba flights each week. The Wellcamp Airport took just 19 months to construct, and cost the Wagner family over $100 million. With workers on shift 24 hours a day to complete the project in time, it is a momentous effort of which the Wagner family is extremely proud.

Three generations of the Toowoomba family, along with hundreds of guests, including politicians and business leaders, turned out to watch the historic occasion. QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the new flights would stimulate tourism and business opportunities for the Toowoomba region. “QantasLink customers travelling to and from Brisbane West Wellcamp will enjoy our exceptional product and service on board our Q400 aircraft, as well as seamless connections to domestic and international Qantas services,” he said.

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Regional Express will begin flights to and from Wellcamp in January, running two Western routes. Western Route 1: Brisbane to Toowoomba, St George, Cunnamulla, Thargomindah and return; Western Route 2: Brisbane to Toowoomba, Charleville, Quilpie, Windorah, Birdsville, Bedourie, Boulia, Mt Isa and return. Discussions are currently underway for Virgin Australia and Tigerair to schedule one flight per week.

Words – Alice Lindley | Images by Andrew Coates