Toowoomba Airport

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Toowoomba Airport
IATA: TWBICAO: YTWB
Summary
Airport type Public
Operator Toowoomba Regional Council
Location Toowoomba, Queensland
Elevation AMSL 2,086 ft / 636 m
Coordinates 27°32′29″S 151°54′45″E / 27.54139°S 151.91250°E / -27.54139; 151.91250Coordinates: 27°32′29″S 151°54′45″E / 27.54139°S 151.91250°E / -27.54139; 151.91250
Map
YTWB is located in Queensland
YTWB
YTWB
Location in Queensland
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
06/24 660 2,165 Grass
11/29 1,341 4,400 Asphalt
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart[1]

Toowoomba Airport (IATA: TWBICAO: YTWB) is an airport located 2.2 nautical miles (4.1 km; 2.5 mi) northwest[1] from the CBD of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. Toowoomba Airport is officially known as Toowoomba Aerodrome and is both licenced and certified. The aerodrome is owned and operated by Towoomba Regional Council. Being certified means the airfield is able to have airlines and larger charter aircraft operate from the aerodrome. Being licenced means that the aerodrome is regulated by federal transport security regulations. Toowoomba Aerodrome does not have a control tower, however the airfield is regulated and operated under Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations of aviation operations at non-tower controlled aerodromes.[2]

History[edit]

Toowoomba was once a port of call on a Qantas International Airline Service and a Qantas flight between Brisbane and Toowoomba was the first unsubsidized passenger service in Australia. This regular daily service commenced on 9 May 1928 with a de Havilland DH.50.

Several notable people have landed in Toowoomba. Bert Hinkler, born in Bundaberg, Queensland, was another pioneer aviator. In 1928 he flew the first solo flight from England to Australia, for this achievement he flew his Avro Avian G-EBOV. It was on 16 June 1928 that Hinkler landed in Toowoomba at the Clifford Park racecourse flying G-EBOV. On 29 May 1930, the first woman to fly from England to Australia, Amy Johnson, landed at the Werrington Park Aerodrome – now called the Toowoomba Airport (also known as the Wilsonton Airport). In August 1932 Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, a pioneer Australian aviator, landed at Toowoomba in his Fokker Trimotor named the 'Southern Cross'. It was in this plane that he made the first non-stop flight across the Australian continent and the first flight across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.

Between 1939 and 1945, the airfield was used at various times by Defence Assets with the cooperation of its owner, Mr Rankin. In January 1944 the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) Directorate of Works and Building (DWB) prepared the airfield for a flight of No 5 Army Co-op Squadron in its move to Toowoomba. The unit was quartered and its Wirraways were dispersed in trees across the Western Highway some 200–300 m (660–980 ft) north of the Wilsonton Post Office, and 500–600 m (1,600–2,000 ft) north of the present runway location.

In June 1946 the Darling Downs Aero Club was formed on the grass paddock at Wilsonton by a small yet eager group of pilots. Initially, it operated only on the weekends (out of a borrowed tent), and flying training was conducted for and on behalf of the Club by the Royal Queensland Aero Club (Archerfield).

In the 1960s the then Mayor of Toowoomba, Jack McCafferty, expressed interest in upgrading the airport and extending the runway, however these proposals were met with opposition from within the council. In the intervening years several developments near the airport boundary were allowed, effectively confining the airport and limiting expansion options.

Throughout the airport history there have been many other pilots who have helped put the Toowoomba Airport on the map, including well-known Australian and international pilot, Guido Zuccoli. Toowoomba is the home of the famed Zuccoli Collection of aircraft and other vehicles.

Category and frequencies[edit]

  • CTAF(R) 127.65 (Adjacent to Oakey Control Zone)
  • NDB 386
  • AWIS 127.05
  • BN CEN 121.2
  • PAL 122.4

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Skytrans Airlines Bedourie, Birdsville, Boulia, Brisbane, Charleville, Cunnamulla, Mount Isa, Quilpie, St George, Sydney, Thargomindah, Windorah, Roma

Other services[edit]

Number of Passengers[edit]

  • 2013-19,000
  • 2012- 2768
  • 2011- 2383
  • 2010- 1920

This makes Toowoomba the 79th busiest airport in Australia, which is quite unusual for a city of its size, but mainly due to the length of the airport limiting the number of passengers and airlines using the airport.


Future development[edit]

Toowoomba Airport has been subject to much debate from the 1960s to present, with conjecture centred on development of the existing site versus a new green-field development. In 2010 the Toowoomba Regional Council decided to develop the Wilsonton site with additional Queensland State Government funding allowing a $10 million expansion. The development followed industry recommendations to extend the main runway to 1,400 m (4,593 ft), and to increase the ramp space for passenger aircraft parking. Interestingly however the airport terminal was not redeveloped despite some community sentiment suggesting it is inadequate. The main runway was primarily extended to the east within the confines of the existing airport boundary, with the earthworks extension completed in July 2011. Further runway surfacing work has been delayed until warmer weather allows the tarmac to cure.

Development was spurred on by Council business surveys conducted in 2009 that suggested there was sufficient traffic to sustain both direct Brisbane and Sydney flights. The Toowoomba Mayor has alluded to the fact that Council is continuing negotiation with several regional airlines to develop and commence RPT flights direct to Sydney or other centres. The commencement of Skytrans Dash-8 services on the Western Route via Toowoomba has assisted to demonstrate the effectiveness of regional turbo-prop aircraft operating directly in Toowoomba with a low noise footprint. In July 2011 it was reported in the local media that Skytrans has suggested it is interested in expanding its network to include Toowoomba to Sydney services,[3] whilst an advertising campaign by the council is imminent to attract interest in airline services more generally. The Council has suggested the process of attracting potential airline services and destinations and routes would be determined by the airlines which may allow the case for direct flights to centres other than Sydney, such as Newcastle, Gold Coast, Moree or Charleville.

In July 2011 the Queensland State Government released a statewide infrastructure review which re-stated the view that a new and larger jet runway airport will be necessary to support regional development in the Toowoomba, Darling Downs and Surat Basin regions. Green field sites to the south and south west of Toowoomba have long been under consideration however expense is a concern for Toowoomba Regional Council without actual Federal or State Government assurances.

The use of the Army Aviation Centre in Oakey is consistently asserted by elements of the community, however Army circuit training traffic loads are high and the prevailing training circuit directly conflicts with the most likely civil approach and departure paths. This conflict could prove unworkable for permanent co-location without significant changes to existing runway infrastructure, navigation aids, and improvements to airport access. The lack of direct vehicle approaches to Oakey Airport from Toowoomba are not ideal, as is the isolation from supporting infrastructure. The Oakey Civil Terminal co-located with the Army Aviation Flying Museum is relatively new and not highly utilised, which makes sharing of this location somewhat commercially attractive.

On 18 July 2013 it was announced that Wagners Group plan to build the country's first public airport from scratch in more than five decades west of Toowoomba is on schedule for the first flight to take-off in the second half of 2014. Wagners Group had reached an agreement with the Department of Defence in relation to the airspace and were working closely with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to determine the best possible flight corridors for the new airport. The multi-million dollar project is set on more than 850 hectares and includes a 2.87 kilometres (1.78 mi) asphalt runway that is 45 metres wide. The airport project master plan will include a state-of-the-art passenger terminal, industrial estate, shopping precinct complete with hotel, bars and restaurants as well as providing a direct link to the proposed Toowoomba Range bypass. The completed airport will have the capability to accommodate aircraft up to a 747 in size.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]