Shanghai flight from Wellcamp makes history
TOOWOOMBA to Shanghai was displayed proudly on the side of a Qantas A330 as a sign history was about to be made at Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport.
The milestone first international passenger flight left Toowoomba about 10.30am yesterday and landed in China last night, cementing the region's ever-increasing status as one to watch for the future.
More than 200 delegates were on board the flight for the five-day Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise AccessChina'16 delegation.
Wagners chairman John Wagner said it was only four-and-a-half years ago his family made the decision to build the airport and while they were eternal optimists, they were pleased to see the flight happen within two years of opening.
"As far as our future here at Wellcamp, we believe that this will set the scene today for many more international flights," Mr Wagner said.
"I think in a few years from now you will see Wellcamp being a fully fledged international airport."
While it may not carry passengers, the Wagners are about to launch into weekly freight flights from with a dedicated Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong from November 22.
"What it is going to do for our region, our economy, job creation - I don't think any of us are yet to really understand the full impact of that," Mr Wagner said.
Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise CEO Ben Lyons said the passenger flight was a sign on faith in the region.
"The basis of the trip is to promote further linkages with Australian local businesses here with their Chinese counterparts," Dr Lyons said.
"It is the biggest market in the world, it is now the biggest economy in the world and we have such a great opportunity here in what we produce."
The delegation is the largest private trade delegation in Australia's history.
Today delegates will attend a conference with 45 speakers designed to inform and explain the Chinese business opportunity.
A gala dinner will he held at the Fairmont Peace Hotel tonight to give further opportunities for networking and insight into the Asian market.