Qantas has resumed its Sydney-Wellcamp services after a two-year pause this week, marking its official return to the regional Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.
QF1412 took off from Sydney at 7:33am on Monday, landing at Wellcamp just over one hour and 20 minutes later at 7:55am local time. Then, the return leg, QF1411 departed Wellcamp at 8:52am, landing in Sydney right on time at 11:10am.
The carrier will perform 12 return flights between the regional aerodrome and NSW capital city per week, operated by regional subsidiary QantasLink, on its fleet of Dash-8 Q400 aircraft.
Australian Aviation photographer Lenn Bayliss was on site at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport on Monday to witness the QantasLink Dash-8’s first take-off from Wellcamp in over two years.
Onboard, first officer Callum Grant took his place in the cockpit, as a past graduate FTA Queensland – the Wellcamp-based flight school tasked with training the students of the Qantas Group Pilot Academy.
Current FTA staff and students were also present, to mark the occasion.
Australian Aviation reported in November that Qantas was initially set to reinstate direct services in February, however, this date was later pushed back to the end of March.
The route’s schedule has been dubbed “business-friendly”, with two flights per day on weekdays, and one flight each Saturday and Sunday.
Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport chairman John Wagner said the new flights will see over 1,700 seats available between Sydney and Wellcamp each week.
“Wellcamp Airport has worked closely with Qantas to recommence flights between Toowoomba and Sydney, allowing ease of travel for the Darling Downs Region and beyond,” Wagner said.
“We’re looking forward to seeing friends and family reunite in our airport and look forward to the significant economic benefits that the Sydney flight will bring to our region.”
It comes as Qantas continues to increase its presence in regional Australia, with the launch of five new routes this week alone.
Qantas began operating new mainline flights on its fleet of Boeing 737s between Sydney and Uluru on Sunday, while four new regional routes took off on Monday operated by regional subsidiary QantasLink.
This includes four weekly return flights between Darwin-Cairns, and three new weekly return services on Darwin-Townsville and Adelaide-Newcastle, all of which are to be operated under Qantas’ wet lease agreement with Alliance Airlines on its fleet of Embraer E190s.
Qantas also begun operations on its Brisbane-Wagga Wagga route, to be operated on its existing De Havilland Dash 8 fleet.
Together, the new routes add more than 2,300 seats into Qantas’ domestic network each week.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the new services were among 52 new routes the national carrier has added to its domestic network since the beginning of the pandemic as Australians looked for local travel opportunities.
“Qantas has a tremendous history of connecting people and economies across Australia,” Gissing said.
“What we’ve seen over the past two years is that what started as a way of meeting pent-up demand for Aussies to travel where they could, is being sustained as visitors discover new destinations and as business links flourish.
“Not only have we seen a huge surge in demand for domestic tourism, but we have a seen a real shift towards investment in our regional communities as economic and industrial hubs.”