A Wellcamp education

Posted June 15, 2015

Phil_Gregory

Wellcamp airport general manager, Phil Gregory. Photo: Jarrayd Apelt

The Brisbane West Wellcamp airport has only been up and running for about six months but the wheels are already spinning on plans for further development.

The first flight went out in November last year and now the airport sees about 5000 passengers pass through its doors each day.

Passenger numbers for this calendar year are set to reach 100,000 and expectations are that number will more than double in the following 12 months.

The airport has opened up a rare opportunity for business workers from all different fields and industry to commute between Toowoomba and Sydney on daily basis.

There are two return flights to Sydney each day with the first departing Toowoomba at 5:20am and the last returning to Toowoomba at 6:15pm.

“If you walk around the terminal in a morning you can see it’s very much a business demographic,” airport general manager, Phil Gregory said.

“It’s really across the board. Toowoomba has an extremely balanced economy. If you look at it, it has a strong agricultural economy, strong mining, strong health, education and finance.”

The next thing on the ‘todo’ list is a dedicated freight hub for produce export from the region.

“There is a big demand and a real desire for a purpose built freight hub to be established,” Mr Gregory said.

“Freight is often a bit of an afterthought at airports. As a clean sheet of paper at Wellcamp, we believe we can develop a purpose built freight hub that will be very efficient.

“Right now there’s product being driven past Wellcamp to other airports. We’re talking fresh flowers, beef, goats and a range of other agricultural products.”

There’s also an opportunity in the education sector, Mr Gregory said.

“We have a joint venture with the Australian Airline Academy and USQ. They are running a Bachelor Aviation and the flight training component is undertaken by the airline academy who is now based here,” he said.

“We see a real opportunity to grow that into a dedicated aviation centre of excellence here.

“We have about 17 students here at the moment and we’re getting really good feedback and they’re confident it could become real, significant business.

“In the next 12 months we’ll at least double student numbers and in the future we’d like to see up to 100 students here.”

The expansion of facilities would include extra classrooms, dedicated hangars and perhaps a dedicated maintenance area.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when and I think the when is next year,” Mr Gregory said.

“This is just the start of really big things to come so watch this space.”

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