Cathay touches down in Wellcamp

Lenn Bayliss Cathay Pacific 747-8 arrival Wellcamp Airport 223 Nov 15-10
Cathay 747-8F B-LJA touches down at Wellcamp. (Lenn Bayliss)

Brisbane West Wellcamp has become Australia’s latest international airport with the arrival of a Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8F.

The Cathay freighter, registered B-LJA, touched down a little after 1430 local time on Monday from Sydney and was due to be on the ground for about 90 minutes while cargo such as chilled beef, mangoes, pecan nuts and grains from the surrounding Darling Downs region was loaded before departing to Hong Kong. There was also some heavy machinery being loaded on the flight such as a helicopter

It is the first international flight from the airport, which celebrated its one-year anniversary earlier in November.

While the cargo service is a one-off, airport owners Wagners are keen to have more freighter flights operating directly to Asia in the future.

Lenn Bayliss First 747-8 to Wellcamp Airport Monday 23 November 2015 (2)
On the ramp at Wellcamp Airport. (Lenn Bayliss)

Australian Aviation understands Cathay, which has been looking at cargo flights to Wellcamp since the airport opened in November 2014, is picking up between 70 and 75 tonnes of cargo destined for Hong Kong, greater China and even beyond to the Americas.

Such was the demand, Cathay was unable to accept some cargo.

Wagners chairman John Wagner described the flight as a great day for Australia.

“If it all goes well today we will be having more discussions with Cathay Pacific to see if we can convince them at some time in the future to start a scheduled service into and out of Wellcamp,” Wagner told reporters prior to the landing of B-LJA on Monday.

“That’s something that we will work very hard on on behalf of the producers in the region.”

“Every time I go up to Asia, and not just China but the other Asian countries, we just get bombarded with requests for fresh, safe produce from this region.”

Wagner said the airport was also in discussions with other airlines about live animal exports from Wellcamp, and flagged a closed charter passenger flight from Wellcamp to China in April.

Cathay pacific 747 164-1
A monitor cross salute for the Cathay 747-8F. (Lenn Bayliss)

Cathay general manager for Southwest Pacific Nelson Chin said there was much potential in Wellcamp.

“It is an exploratory trip but hopefully this will lead to better things, bigger things,” Chin said.

Chin said the free-trade agreement between Australia and China, which is currently before parliament, would open up a lot of doors and benefit the Darling Downs region.

The event has attracted widespread interest from the community in Toomwoomba, with about 1,000 invited guests at the terminal to watch the landing and departure, while plenty more were parked on the other side of the runway to witness the historic event.

Wellcamp is the 436th airport certified to accept the Boeing 747 family of aircraft.

Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8F with its nose freight door open at Wellcamp Airport. (Jordan Chong)
The 747-8F with its nose door open at Wellcamp. (Jordan Chong)

Comments

  1. Steve Neale says

    Congratulations Wellcamp. If only we had more ‘Wagners ‘in this .country who let their deeds do their talking.
    Looking forward to see what else you have up your sleeves..

  2. Nicholas from Trinity says

    Build it and they will come. What a marvellous story and tribute to private enterprise this build has been. Can I, cough cough, compare it to Badgerys Creek, no perhaps I won’t – that was cruel wasn’t it. Best of luck to the Airport and the Wagners

  3. ian says

    now surely a weekly combi 747-400 (KLM have a fleet of them & they fly to Hong Kong 6 days a week) with 268 seats & can carry lots of cargo on main deck as well + belly cargo.

  4. Harry Thomas says

    Smack-bang in the middle of the food producing bowl of the Toowoomba region. Brisbane West Wellcamp couldn’t be better strategically placed to service the region. As the airport grows so too will associated services and, importantly, tourism and jobs. Is there anyone silly enough to think the Queensland or federal governments would have built the airport? Congratulations, Wagners!

  5. Andrew Franklin says

    I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with Brisbane Aitport…Only 130 km away..Can Wellcamp be that different.??

  6. Peter says

    HUH ? Andrew! How often do you drive that 130k section of the Warrego highway.( before you set out from the CBD to the airport? Wellcamp is is central to where production takes place!.
    Congrats WEllcamp!

  7. charles says

    Fantastic, imagine a Federal or State Government trying to do the same

    Have a look at a recent episode of Landline, Great Story

    Well done the Wagners

  8. David says

    @Andrew F
    Why not use YBWW. It is closer to the centre of production. It is cheaper the YBBN. It is not congested.

    In fact – it should be being considered by the Tolls of this world for use instead of Brisbane for freight consigned to/from ports west of Brisbane. Wagners have a large industrial estate adjacent to the airport with taxiways into an apron on the freight side planned. I’m sure they would do a deal for an anchor tenant like Toll..

    p.s. Its at least 150km from YBBW to YBBN.

  9. Aaryn says

    Another reason for the use of Wellcamp is that trucks do not have to reduce there trailer right down to a b-double, Type 1 road trains (Doubles & AB-Triples) are permitted to Wellcamp airport, so your allowed to carry at a minimum 22 Tonne of produce per trip right up to the gate – this will save time and valuable money for transport.

  10. Swannie says

    Big Congrats to the Wagners and all concerned.

    Now that CX have had a taste lets see if that opens the door to others.

    Talk about ‘Can Do!’

    Well done!!!

  11. Dave says

    I wonder if they had to bring in immigration from Brisbane for this and what the costs are to do that

  12. Adrian P says

    Well done Wagners, could do with an airport like this at Mildura for exporting fresh fruit.

    PS is Australia the only country that does not have international flights to its capital?

  13. Ben says

    Just goes to show what is possible when you just get on with it rather than have study after study after study.

  14. Bob Pearman says

    Well done to Mr and Mrs Wagner Senior,for producing the sons with so much forsight to build
    an airport that is 747 capable.
    And to build it in the timespan.

    Congratulations to the Wagner family for this historic event,and one that will be a huge advantage to the Queensland and Australian economy.
    Bop Pearman Toowoomba

  15. Ian Deans says

    YNNW? YBBN? Could we use standard IATA airline three-letter city codes please?
    I bet many readers of Australian Aviation would not have a clue what these four-letter codes mean.

  16. Wes says

    Really??? Did some of you not read the line ‘it was a one-off’ – so yes, let’s hear three cheers for people with foresight who have built a 747 capable airport which has had, um, one, 747 land there with no real prospect of any others to follow… sounds like it could just as easily be a white elephant.
    How much has been piled into YMAV and how much was spent to get it’s only airline tenant to stay??? So much for private enterprise.