First commercial Townsville flight lands at Wellcamp

UPDATE: The first commercial flight from Darwin to Townsville and on to Toowoomba has arrived at Wellcamp.

Airnorth's state-of-the-art Embraer E170 Jet, seating 76 passengers, landed about 12.05pm.

It was the first of three return flights that will operate every week to Townsville from the airport at Wellcamp.

Airnorth chief executive officer Daniel Bowden said: "We are proud to see Airnorth breaking new ground again to deliver the first commercial passenger service from Townsville to the new Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, at Toowoomba."

"This is an important milestone for our business and for regional Australia.

Airnorth planes will fly between Toowoomba and Melbourne. Photo Contributed
The new route will be the third into the airport for Airnorth, which started Melbourne and Cairns services earlier this year. Contributed

"Wellcamp is a world-class facility and a credit to the vision and commitment of its owners, and our key partners, in the Wagner family."

"We have been extremely pleased by early demand for the new services which have attracted strong support from both the corporate and leisure markets."

Townsville Airport chief operating officer Kevin Gill said the services would be well received from both an inbound and outbound perspective.

"Townsville Airport is delighted to strengthen our relationship with Airnorth who successfully opened up direct services to Darwin from Townsville in 2012," Mr Gill said.

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"Airnorth's Toowoomba services would be a great addition to the comprehensive network of domestic travel options currently on offer through Townsville Airport.

"The services will offer Townsville locals a more diverse travel choice and provide a convenient option for travellers looking to explore Northern Queensland and beyond."

Mr Bowden said the flights would also improve connectivity between the Australian Defence Force's major bases in Townsville, Darwin and also Toowoomba.

He also welcomed the inclusion of the Qantas codeshare on the new Airnorth and Wellcamp services.

Airport general manager Phil Gregory said an additional route for the airport was an important step in growing regular passenger transport into the region.

"In addition to Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns we now have connection to two additional international airports -Townsville and Darwin. This opens up exciting international travel opportunities for locals," Mr Gregory said.

Once the service starts the airport will have 72 flights in and out each week.

EARLIER: Defence personnel are taking advantage of a new airline route, with Wellcamp airport welcoming the first flight from Townsville and Darwin today.

VIP guests will be on the inaugural flight, which will land at the airport about 12.05pm.

Also taking advantage of the flight are a number of Defence personnel.

Airport general manager Phil Gregory said Toowoomba had a large Defence presence, with the Oakey Army Aviation Centre and Borneo Barracks at Cabarlah housing large contingents.

He said Townsville also had a huge presence of military personnel.

"It's a big opportunity for Defence movements and people are taking advantage of that on the first flight."

Mr Gregory said tourism and business travel was also a big factor.

"Everyone should go to Darwin at least once I their life, you never know if you never go," he said echoing a famous tourism slogan for the Northern Territory.

The plane arriving today is based in Darwin and will travel to Townsville and onto Toowoomba before returning the same way.

The plane will leave about 2.05pm due to a function at the terminal but Mr Gregory said the flights would usually be on the ground for about 30 minutes.

The new route will be the third into the airport for Airnorth, which started Melbourne and Cairns services earlier this year.

The company's state-of-the-art Embraer E170 Jet, seating 76 passengers will be the first of three return flights every week between Townsville and Australia's newest airport at Wellcamp, Toowoomba.