Local Airport Fast Tracks Freight For Rio Tinto

29 March 2017

The first successful domestic freight operation out of Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport has opened the skies for new business opportunities in the region, according to the airport’s commercial manager Sara Hales.

Ms Hales says the airport’s cargo and passenger capabilities ensure local businesses have improved connectivity and the opportunity to meet urgent client deadlines using local infrastructure.

“Toowoomba and the surrounding regions provide services and supply materials for major national and international companies and for many of these entities the advantage of having airport nearby streamlines logistical operations,” says Ms Hales.

Toowoomba-based civil construction, quarrying and mining industries supply company Trackspares, commissioned the first domestic freight flight from Toowoomba late last week. The company was dispatching an urgent shipment to Rio Tinto’s bauxite mine at Weipa.

Trackspares managing director Brad Oats says the 10-tonne shipment included heavy-duty undercarriage, including track chains and rollers, for a material handling machine known as an apron feeder.

He says it has been fantastic to be part of another major milestone for the region’s airport. “It opens up opportunities, not only for us but for companies like Rio Tinto to access our services.”

He says without the local airport the order would have been trucked to Brisbane and companies, like Trackspares, would be faced with a “logistical nightmare”. 

“The Rio Tinto mine was dealing with a time-critical breakdown situation and the flight from Wellcamp helped expedite the whole process in an industry where time is money,” says Mr Oats.

EastAir, who usually conducts urgent air transport for Rio Tinto arranged dedicated charter airline Pionair Australia (via Aviation Cairns) to freight the Trackspares equipment to Weipa on a BAE 146-200QT ‘Whisper Jet’.

“Once the freight order grew from 3.4 tonne to 10 tonnes we needed a bigger aircraft for the service.

“We were thrilled to be able to help Trackspares meet their client’s urgent request and also facilitate the supplies for our client Rio Tinto who we have been working with for the past six years,” says EastAir chief executive Mr Dean Mooney

Pionair general manager Michael Lee says the company was an industry leader in providing cost-effective tailored solutions for all types of air transport requirements.

“Our aircraft can carry up to 11.5 tons of cargo into and out of difficult to reach locations, worldwide, so we were thrilled to be able to assist Trackspares with the urgent client request,” said Mr Lee.

The cargo door is a massive 3.33 metres wide and 1.93 metres tall, allowing large oversized cargo to be loaded.

For further details contact:

Izelle Barnard

Marketing & Communications Officer

Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport

e. izelle.barnard@wellcampairport.com.au