Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport

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Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport
Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport logo.svg
Approach to the passenger terminal, Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, 2016.jpg
Airport typePublic
Time zoneUTC+10:00 ()
Elevation AMSL1,509 ft / 460 m
Coordinates27°33′30″S 151°47′36″E / 27.55833°S 151.79333°E / -27.55833; 151.79333Coordinates: 27°33′30″S 151°47′36″E / 27.55833°S 151.79333°E / -27.55833; 151.79333
YBWW is located in Queensland
Location in Queensland
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12/30 9,420 2,870 Asphalt
Statistics (YE2017)
Passenger changeIncrease21.6%

Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport (IATA: WTB, ICAO: YBWW) is an airport in Wellcamp, 8.4 nautical miles (15.6 km; 9.7 mi) west from the CBD of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. It was known as Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport until November 2017.[2]

The airport and an associated aviation and business park is the brainchild of the Wagner family, a business family prominent in the Toowoomba region. It is the first major greenfield public airport development in Australia since Melbourne Airport opened in 1970. It is also the first privately funded major airport in the country.[3]

The airport is rated at Code E and with its 2,870-metre (9,416 ft) long by 45-metre (148 ft) wide runway can handle aircraft the size and weight of the Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 747-8.[1][3] The airport is estimated to have a catchment area of 344,000 people[4] and in 2017 handled 157,000 passengers (a 25.9% growth from the previous year), making it the 33rd busiest regional airport in Australia annually.[citation needed]


QantasLink check in counter, cafe and Southern Cross SC-1 prototype on display.
Café inside the passenger terminal, 2016

The Toowoomba region had not been serviced by a jet-capable airport at any time in the city's history. The extant Toowoomba City Aerodrome at Wilsonton in suburban residential Toowoomba has been historically restricted in development due to local council land development policy and poor local planning, although a runway extension in 2011 allowed for improved scheduled services with turboprop aircraft.

The Darling Downs and Surat Basin regions were subject to significant growth between 2005 and 2013, primarily due to coal mining and coal seam gas exploration. This industrial expansion coupled with the development of a transport hub and industrial estate at Charlton (10 km west of Toowoomba) provided the land corridor immediately west of Toowoomba with government-endorsed transport development opportunities.

Construction on the site, a former quarry owned by the Wagner family since 1994, began in April 2013, with an ambitious timeframe for completion by October 2014.[5]

On 22 November 2013, a Beechcraft King Air owned and piloted by John Wagner became the first aircraft to land on the new runway. On 15 January 2014, the first concrete for the terminal building was poured.[6] In June 2014, work began on sealing the runway and movement areas using EFC, a low-carbon cement-free concrete developed by Wagners, boosting the airport's green credentials.[7]

On 3 September 2014, Qantas became the first airline to announce regular services from the airport.[8][9] Regional services operated under contract to the Government of Queensland transferred from Toowoomba City Aerodrome to Wellcamp on 1 January 2015.[10] On 17 November 2014, the first scheduled passenger service commenced, operating between Sydney Airport and Wellcamp airport.[11]

On 23 November 2015, the first jumbo aircraft arrived from Sydney. The Cathay Pacific 747 freighter aircraft made a brief stop en route from Sydney Airport to Hong Kong to collect produce bound for China.[12] The trial service uplifted 58 tonnes of fresh produce during the stop.

In March 2016, services to Cairns and Melbourne with Airnorth commenced, followed by Townsville in November.[13]

In October 2016, Cathay Pacific announced the opening of weekly cargo services starting on 22 November 2016, from Wellcamp to Hong Kong using a 747 freighter aircraft. The service originates in Sydney and stops in Melbourne and Wellcamp before proceeding to Hong Kong.[14] Cathay Pacific also announced that the first cargo export booking from Toowoomba was for a live crocodile.[15]

On 22 October 2016, the first international passenger flight stopped at Wellcamp airport. This also marked the first Airbus A330 flight at the airport. The service was a charter originating in Sydney before stopping at Wellcamp to collect 250 people traveling to Shanghai, China for a trade conference.[16]

On 11 November 2016, the airport was designated as an international airport and as a regional international gateway.[17]


The Wagner family submitted to the amalgamated Toowoomba Regional Council a plan for a large-scale airport and industrial development in 2012, utilising an extant planning code from the pre-amalgated council statutes. The submission occurred on the last available day prior to post-amalgamation planning codes taking effect. This resulted in a diminished requirement for community consultation which was met with scepticism by some media and local residents.[18]

The initial submission was also completed without consultation with local airspace owners, primarily the Department of Defence, which controls much of the local airspace via the Oakey and Amberley military restricted airspace zones.[18] This has subsequently required considerable consultation, and has been complicated by effective endorsement of the privately funded public airport development at all governmental levels despite potential impacts on the Department of Defence.[19] Changes to the military airspace around Oakey and Amberley were subsequently announced in November 2013 to allow the continuation of military flying activities at these bases and civilian operations from Wellcamp once it became operational.[20]

The Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quirk, expressed opposition to the use of the previous name "Brisbane West" for an airport 130 km (81 mi) west of Brisbane, saying it would mislead visitors.[21]

Transport hub[edit]

The main terminal building.

The airport is placed to exploit the future development of transport and industry at Charlton. The new airport location is adjacent to the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, a proposed bypass of Toowoomba. The section of the bypass (between Charlton and Athol) passing the airport will be a single carriageway only. The airport location is also near the planned Australian standard gauge inland rail corridor which would link Melbourne with Brisbane, thus providing a potential road-air-rail hub.

Aviation school[edit]

In December 2014 the airport announced the development of an aviation education precinct, a joint project with the Airline Academy of Australia and University of Southern Queensland, to train pilots and offer courses in aircraft maintenance, engineering and electronics.[22] The first students commenced training in February 2015.[23]

Projected future[edit]

The airport is expected to act as a major air freight hub, including live livestock export via air. The terminal is projected to be 9,000 square metres on opening, and have the capacity to be developed to handle in excess of 500,000 passengers annually by 2019.[24] Due to its proximity to Brisbane and long runway, it is expected that Toowoomba Wellcamp will become an alternative for diverted domestic and international flights when weather conditions prevent landing at Brisbane and Gold Coast Airports.[5]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airnorth Cairns, Melbourne, Townsville[25]
QantasLink Sydney
Regional Express Airlines Bedourie, Birdsville, Boulia, Brisbane, Charleville, Cunnamulla, Mount Isa, Quilpie, St George, Thargomindah, Windorah


Cathay Pacific Cargo Hong Kong[26]


Wellcamp Airport statistics[27]
Year Domestic passengers Aircraft movements Notes
2014 6,037 120 RPT commenced on 17 November 2014.
2015 62,050 2,085
2016 112,119 3,225
2017 142,967 3,963

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "FAC YBWW" (PDF). En Route Supplement Australia (ERSA). Airservices Australia. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Wagners announce name change for Wellcamp Airport". Toowoomba Chronicle. 2 November 2017. Archived from the original on 3 November 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b Cameron Atfield (9 January 2014). "Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport nearing completion". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Digital. Archived from the original on 11 January 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport rapidly taking shape". Australian Aviation. Phantom Media. 4 October 2013. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b Cameron Atfield (22 May 2014). "Brisbane West Wellcamp airlines almost lined up: Wagner". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 24 May 2014.
  6. ^ Chris Calcino (15 January 2014). "PHOTOS: First concrete poured at airport terminal". The Chronicle. Toowoomba Newspapers. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  7. ^ Doug Nancarrow (21 May 2014). "Wellcamp Airport on track for year-end opening". Aviation Business Asia-Pacific. Archived from the original on 23 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Qantas will use new Queensland airport". Brisbane Times. 3 September 2014. Archived from the original on 6 September 2014.
  9. ^ "AIRPORT TAKES FLIGHT WITH QANTAS DEAL". Qantas Airways Limited. 3 September 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Rex soars in Queensland as Skytrans falters". Brisbane Times. 15 October 2014. Archived from the original on 17 June 2016.
  11. ^ Cameron Atfield (17 November 2014). "Toowoomba's Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport airport to have first flights". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Digital. Archived from the original on 20 November 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Community to visit airport to watch history in making". Chronicle. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Wellcamp airport announces exciting new route". The Chronicle. Toowoomba. 9 September 2016. Archived from the original on 12 October 2016.
  14. ^ "BRISBANE WEST WELLCAMP AIRPORT TAKES ONBOARD REGULAR INTERNATIONAL FREIGHT SERVICES". (Press release). Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  15. ^ "CX World - October" (PDF). Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific. October 2016. p. 3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 October 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Qantas Toowoomba-Shanghai flight makes history". NewsComAu. Archived from the original on 26 October 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Wellcamp Airport granted regional international gateway status". Australian Aviation. 11 November 2016. Archived from the original on 15 November 2016.
  18. ^ a b Nick Cater (25 November 2013). "ADF battles fast-track airport". The Australian. Archived from the original on 26 November 2013.
  19. ^ Calcino, Chris (15 December 2012). "New airport will put Oakey under cloud". The Chronicle. Archived from the original on 19 March 2016.
  20. ^ Calcino, Chris (27 November 2013). "Department of Defence puts Wellcamp Aiport [sic] fears to rest". The Chronicle. Archived from the original on 20 March 2016.
  21. ^ "Get your own name, Brisbane Lord Mayor tells new Toowoomba airport". Brisbane Times. 14 January 2014. Archived from the original on 11 March 2014.
  22. ^ Wellcamp launches aviation school, Australian Aviation, 5 December 2014, archived from the original on 9 December 2014
  23. ^ "First aviation students touch down at Wellcamp". Toowoomba Chronicle. 1 February 2015. Archived from the original on 11 February 2015.
  24. ^ (11 March 2013) Daryl Passmore. High-flying family build own airport in Toowoomba Archived 17 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine. The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 15 January 2014
  25. ^ "Airnorth expands from Wellcamp with new Townsville flights". Australian Aviation. 9 September 2016. Archived from the original on 10 September 2016.
  26. ^ "Historic flight takes off from Wellcamp airport to Asia". Toowoomba Chronicle. 23 November 2016. Archived from the original on 23 November 2016.
  27. ^ "Airport Traffic Data 1985-2017". Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE). Retrieved 4 February 2019. Refers to "Regular Public Transport (RPT) operations only"

External links[edit]

Media related to Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport at Wikimedia Commons