AFTER 19 months and 11 days, the Wagner family can finally celebrate.

Wellcamp Airport welcomed its first passengers today when the inaugural QantasLink flight arrived from Sydney.

A mix of the Wagner family, politicians, business leaders and the local community then flew to Sydney.

Speaking just after landing in Sydney, Wagners chairman John Wagner said it was a great day for Toowoomba and the region.

"It felt like a long, hard road, but we can't take our foot off the accelerator," he said.

"We have to get tourism and agricultural exports going.

"Now we have to go about building businesses around the airport and creating real value for the people of Toowoomba.

"Our focus is to make sure people in the region support Qantas because without the airline we've got nothing."

Project manager and Wagners director Denis Wagner gave credit to his team for delivering the project so quickly.

He said setting targets and meeting goals enabled them to pull off the feat, but admitted it wasn't all "plane" sailing.

With a team working seven days a week, 24 hours-a-day to finish in record time, the project marks a huge milestone for the Wagners.

"To see our vision of a jet-capable airport come to life and celebrate the first flight with our first customer QantasLink, it's a moment we are all extremely proud of," Mr Wagner said.

"There were a lot of challenges through the process because it was the first greenfield airport built in 50 years.

"There wasn't a lot of experience to draw on, so we had to innovate."

And the work isn't finished yet, with construction at the airport and business park to continue in coming months.

Mr Wagner said although the airport had at times been criticised, especically by radio personality Alan Jones, the majority of residents in the region supported the project.

"We had over 27,000 people come to our open day in September.

"They were all fairly positive about the region and how things were going," he said.

QantasLink chief executive officer John Gissing said the inaugural flight to Wellcamp marked a momentous occasion in aviation history.

"Qantas' history began in Queensland over 94 years ago, so we're delighted to be part of this important milestone in the state's history," he said.

Mary and Henry Wagner.
Mary and Henry Wagner. Bev Lacey

"As Australia's largest regional airline we understand the needs of regional Australia.

"The new flights will stimulate tourism and business opportunities for the Toowoomba region.

"QantasLink customers travelling to and from Brisbane West Wellcamp will enjoy our exceptional product and service as well as seamless connections to domestic and international Qantas services."

QantasLink will offer 11 return flights a week to and from Sydney and provide a Toowoomba-centric schedule of double daily services Monday to Friday and daily services on weekends.

The airport is capable of accommodating the large passenger 747 aircraft.

It is one of Australia's longest regional runways and the second longest regional runway in Queensland.

The facility was Australia's first privately-funded public airport and the first public airport to be built in 50 years.

The 300ha airport features a 2.87km runway, state-of-the-art 8000sq m terminal facility and is the anchor tenant of the 800ha Wellcamp Business Park.

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