CARTOON: The Daily Mercury ran this cartoon of a plane labelled Mackay shooting down a plane labelled Toowoomba on its front page yesterday.

Why The Chronicle and The Daily Mercury are trading jabs

A RIVALRY between Toowoomba and Mackay has started to emerge with the announcement the two cities had been short-listed as possible locations for a Qantas Pilot Training Academy.

On Monday Qantas representatives met with Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio, Wellcamp Airport's John Wagner and State Development Minister Cameron Dick to take a closer look at Toowoomba's bid for the facility.

At a press conference before the tour, Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio was asked whether there was any rivalry between the two cities over the proposals.

"I know (Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson) and respect him highly," Mr Antonio said.

"But on this particular subject... I really think that when you look at things, have a look at Toowoomba, then have a look at Mackay.

"I'll rest my case there."

The next day The Chronicle ran 'Memo to Qantas: Choose Toowoomba over Mackay' on its front page and the Daily Mercury was not happy.

Yesterday, Toowoomb-nahh mate was splashed on the Mackay tabloid's front page, along with a cartoon showing a plane labelled Mackay shooting down a plane labelled Toowoomba.

The story featured quotes from a number of prominent Mackay residents, including controversial Dawson MP George Christensen.

"I've been once and it was cold enough that day to not make the mistake again," Mr Christensen said.

"If they want to have to be push starting the planes down the runways because the fuel pipes have been frozen, then Toowoomba is the right choice."

Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan also took aim at The Chronicle's editor Steve Etwell.

"Don't get me wrong, I love the Darling Downs. Great people, love the Carnival of Flowers," Mr Costigan said.

"However, in terms of climate and lifestyle, Mackay in the tropical north is a no brainer.

"I think deep down, even the editor of The Chronicle knows that. After all, he comes from the same place as me, the city that I represent, a city which has put a strong case forward to bring the Flying Kangaroo to town."

Toowoomba's bid for the pilot training academy was one of nine proposals short-listed across the country.

The other eight locations, including Mackay, are Alice Springs, Bendigo, Busselton, Dubbo, Launceston, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga.

Wagners director John Wagner said the company was prepared to invest heavily in the training facility.

"Wagners are prepared to put in significant infrastructure, to the tune of $55 million, to make this thing a reality," he said.

"The single biggest thing we bring to the table is we are not capital constrained, we make decisions quickly.

"We've got a very strong track record of bringing projects to fruition. We built Wellcamp Airport in 19 months.

"So we can have this up and running in five to six months from when they sign a commercial agreement."

The Chronicle editor Steve Etwell said he encouraged proud Toowoomba residents to get on social media and share the hashtag #Qantas4twba, to help highlight the community support for the proposal.