Cathay Pacific and Wellcamp Airport encouraged by first year of freighter operations

Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8F B-LJM at Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport. (Wellcamp)
A file image of Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8F B-LJM at Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport. (Wellcamp)

Cathay Pacific is encouraged by the performance of its freighter service out of Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport after a little over a year of operations.

The oneworld alliance member established a regular cargo link between Queensland’s Darling Downs and Hong Kong in November 2016 with a Boeing 747 freighter.

The flight operates as part of a Sydney-Melbourne-Wellcamp-Hong Kong schedule once a week.

While the initial rationale for the Wellcamp stop was to enable local producers in the Darling Downs to export their good to Asia and beyond via Cathay’s Hong Kong hub, Cathay Pacific Airways regional cargo manager for south west Pacific Nigel Chynoweth said there had also been demand for inbound freight.

“Obviously opportunities to export fresh produce and chilled meat products directly into Asia was the driving force,” Chynoweth said in a statement.

“But we have seen a steady growth in the number of businesses using the airport to bring items such as exhibitions, food processing equipment, aircraft engines and gas turbines, even a cheese shredder into the state.”

One highlight during the first 12 months of operations was the transfer of the sets for the stage musical Kinky Boots to Hamburg, Germany, following its run in Brisbane. The sets, which required 14 main deck pallets and two 20-foot pallets, were trucked to Wellcamp and then flown to Germany.

Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport general manager Sara Hales said the local community had given good support for the airport’s cargo operations.

“We have the capabilities to handle inbound and outbound cargo; we have two main deck loaders, access to franna cranes, we are a licenced perishable facility and also approved to receive loose lodged perishables that we can can pack onto the aircraft unit load device prior to transfer to the freighter,” Hales said.

“As the variety of shipments broadens we are developing the facilities at Wellcamp Airport to handle anything from produce shipments needing cool room facilities, live animals to large mining shipments, aircraft engines, helicopters and even stage production sets.”

In addition to Cathay Pacific’s cargo service, Towwomba Wellcamp Airport also has regular public transport (RPT) passenger flights from AirNorth, QantasLink and Regional Express (Rex).

The privately-held Wellcamp Airport, owned by Wagners, opened in November 2014. It has a 2,800m runway capable of handling Boeing 747 aircraft and a terminal that has an initial capacity for 1.4 million passengers a year.

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8 at Wellcamp Airport on Monday 23 November 2015 (Lenn Bayliss)
In November 2015, Cathay Pacific operated a one-off Boeing 747-8 freighter flight from Wellcamp Airport to Hong Kong. (Lenn Bayliss)

Comments

  1. Russell M says

    Jeremy – when I lived in Canberra I wanted to see more regional flights OUT of Canberra!! 😉

  2. John Cox says

    Please the name now of this airport is Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport
    A nd an interesting point for the southern readers is that Toowoomba is the largest inland country city in Australia .

  3. AlanH says

    So when will the NSW government realise the success of this and look to a regional area, like Goulburn, to set up a freight hub to divert this traffic away from SYD? Goulburn has an airport already that, admittedly, would need “extensive” upgrading to accommodate modern freight aircraft (B747F and MD-11F) but it is very conveniently located alongside the main Sydney-Melbourne highway and rail line and no curfews! How hard would it be to provide 24/7 delivery of freight to Sydney and the NSW regional areas from such a central location?