TOOWOOMBA, Queensland: June 24, 2016. The Australian government has given the green light for unrestricted air cargo services from the privately-held Wellcamp Airport in South-West Queensland, following a bid by the owners to establish it as a major airfreight hub for Australian exports to South-East Asia.
Last November Cathay Pacific flew a 747-8 freighter into Wellcamp to test the demand for regular services. Exports included two helicopters to Miami, chilled beef to Hong Kong, frozen beef to Shanghai as well as lettuce, pecans and mangoes from Queensland.
The Wagner Group, one of Queensland's largest privately-owned construction materials and mining services companies, opened Wellcamp in 2014 - the first greenfield public airport in Australia in almost 50 years and the country's first privately-funded airport. Towoomba is located 150 kms from Brisbane in a region that has an annual perishables output valued at over A$660 million.
Australian minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said removing the operational restrictions on Wellcamp would help the airport reach its potential as a major international export hub for local agricultural produce.
“South West Queensland already produces around a third of Queensland’s agricultural output, and maximizing export opportunities for the industry is critical to future growth,” he said.
Wagner Group chairman John Wagner acknowledged the government’s commitment would provide an increased opportunity for local producers and exporters to engage with importers from international markets.
“This announcement critically comes ahead of an October delegation of business and industry leaders travelling direct from the Toowoomba region to China to explore further trade and investment opportunities,” he added.