Wellcamp Airport cleared for international passenger flight
WELLCAMP Airport's second international passenger flight has been cleared for take-off as the Federal Government commits its support for future commercial flights.
Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise executives and airport owner John Wagner met with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on Saturday to "cut through bureaucratic red tape" ahead of the New Zealand flight.
"This is an incredibly important decision," Mr Dutton said.
"This is going to be a powerful opportunity for the region and obviously there are issues around border clearances and John (McVeigh) contacted me to say that we needed to get this dealt with as quickly as possible, which we have now done.
"That means there are no hiccups at all.
"It's good that Border Force played its role in keeping our borders secure and biosecurity aspects can never be compromised, but nonetheless we needed to cut through that bureaucratic red tape."
TSBE acting CEO Stacey Burrell said the approvals put AccessNZ "right on schedule" for June 11.
Wellcamp Airport general manager Sara Hales welcomed the approvals being put in place.
"It shows a demonstrated commitment from the Australian Government to support Toowoomba and the Darling Downs' ambitions in terms of international trade," she said.
"We're extremely grateful for the assistance from John McVeigh in helping these approvals to be granted ahead of time."
Mr Dutton revealed the government was willing to work with the airport regarding ongoing border force and quarantine concerns as talks progress between Wellcamp and international passenger airlines.
While unable to comment on commercial arrangements, Mr Dutton said the Federal Government would discuss immigration and quarantine services in the future and "again, iron out any of those bureaucratic speed bumps and make sure that that end is not holding up any commercial arrangements".
"Because obviously the multiplier of that for Toowoomba and the Darling Downs would be quite significant so we would facilitate that as best we can," he said.
Ms Hales welcomed the government's ongoing support and confirmed talks of establishing regular international passenger flights, but warned it was a long-term plan.
"There is a long way to go, it will take a couple of years before they materialise into air services," she said.