FREIGHT FOR THE FUTURE: COUNCIL PUSHES FOR AIRPORT UPGRADE FOLLOWING MOU SIGNING
07 March 2016
Deniliquin Council has struck a watershed agreement that could change the face of Australia’s regional freight services. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed with Toowoomba’s Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport (BWWA), with the intention of providing air freight services between Deniliquin Airport and Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba, which opened just over a year ago.
Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport general manager Mr Phil Gregory said the MOU signified a further development in the airport’s goal of achieving regular international freight services. “We are excited that primary producers along Australia’s Eastern Seaboard can see the potential of the huge export opportunities in the Asian market.”
Mr Gregory urged the Federal Government to support the Deniliquin Council’s push to upgrade the local airport to facilitate freight opportunities. “We were lucky to have the foresight of the local Wagner family, who also had the resources to built a jet-capable greenfield airport without having to rely on public funds.
“The freight opportunities ahead are exciting and it would be fantastic to be able to work co-operatively with likeminded businesses,” said Mr Gregory. Mr Gregory explained that although Toowoomba already had a Council-operated airport, it was land-locked, making it impossible to extend the runway. “Wellcamp has a 2.87km runway that enables us to accommodate large freight aircraft, similar to the Cathay Pacific 747-8 that recently landed and flew a cargo load of fresh, local produce direct into Hong Kong.”
Mr Gregory said Wellcamp Airport, which opened in late 2014, was involved in ongoing discussions with several airlines to secure regular international freight services out of Toowoomba. BWWA is Australia’s first ever-privately funded public airport and the first greenfield airport to be built since Tullamarine about 50 years ago.
Deniliquin Mayor Ashley Hall said the MOU signed with Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport was the exciting first step in developing Deniliquin Airport as an important air freight hub in the southern states of Australia. Cr Hall, accompanied by Deputy Mayor Jeff Shand and Manager Economic and Business Development John Harvie travelled to Toowoomba last month for meetings with the airport developer and Wagners global chairman, John Wagner.
“The facilities that have been developed at the airport and associated Business Park are a credit to everyone involved. This is a visionary project that, in its short history, is being recognised as one of Australia’s greatest aviation success stories. “It has given Toowoomba’s economy a huge economic boost and the possibilities that are presented through our association have the potential to also provide our economy with a multi-million-dollar annual injection,” Cr Hall said. He added it was especially appropriate at the present time with the exciting potential of the abattoir and ethanol plant developments in Deniliquin, and the likelihood of increased demand for export of our region’s produce into Asia.
Cr Hall said from Deniliquin Council’s perspective the next step was to access funding for an airport upgrade. Council has been seeking government support to establish a 2,000 metre runway and this intensified after a 2010 study favoured Deniliquin as the preferred location for a new regional airport to service the southern Riverina and Murray regions, including Echuca/Moama. Cr Hall said providing a freight hub with links to Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport for international freight distribution further enhanced Deniliquin’s appeal as the location for a regional airport.
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Cr Paul Antonio said he welcomed the news Wellcamp Airport would work with the Deniliquin Council. “To come together with a common goal of helping our producers export into international markets is important for the future of our collective regions. It creates jobs, bolsters our local economies and makes good business sense. It’s great to see local businesses like Wellcamp Airport, having a long-term view that will benefit the city,” said Cr Antonio.
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Phone: 0429 173 775
Media and Communications Manager
Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport
Tel: 0416 121 777