Monday, July 23, 2012

Thangool / Biloela Airport Revisited!

We recently spent a night in Biloela, and have taken the opportunity to further examine the goings-on at the Thangool (Biloela) Airport.

Firstly thanks to the inviting and extremely helpful staff at Thangool Airport. They all were very accommodating, and made this visit - on a Thursday evening and Friday morning - very enjoyable.

We profiled Thangool Airport late in 2011. Thangool (Biloela) Airport is situated off the Burnett Highway, about 400m from the Thangool Town Centre, and 11km from the Biloela Town Centre.

The Airport has two runways – one sealed runway (1522m) and one clay based grass runway (794m) primarily used by light aircraft. There are currently plans to extend the main runway by 500 metres, and, if this is approved, upon completion of the lengthening, it is hoped to then widen the runway to 45 metres. If the green light is given - the lengthening and widening of the runway will be completed as separate projects.

As it stands - the runway is capable of handling the larger Dash-8-Q400 aircraft, however at present, the majority of QantasLink services to Thangool are operated by either Dash-8-200 or Dash-8-Q300 aircraft.

The smaller grass runway remains and is often used by light aircraft. The Airport caretaker maintains the grass strip in an immaculate condition.

The aircraft parking apron is quite large, and there are some nearby hangars, where Cessna 182 VH-BIW was resting in one of the open hangars.

Thangool Airport has a nice little terminal building which has been overhauled in recent years. It features a modern-looking interior, air-conditioning, toilet amenities, as well as telephones, self-serve food and drink area, hire car desks, and a check-in counter.

The passenger/visitor car park was also resurfaced and expanded. Transfers are available between Thangool Airport and the Biloela township by taxi for a set fare of $35.

The only Regular Passenger Transport (RPT) services to and from Thangool Airport are operated by QantasLink (Sunstate Airlines) which flies a total of 9 services per week between Thangool and Brisbane. They operate both the Dash-8-200 and Dash-8-Q300 aircraft on most of the services.

The schedule is broken down into a single service on Monday, Friday and Sunday, and two services (morning and afternoon) on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. No flights on Saturday.

We were lucky enough to observe the Thursday evening QantasLink service from Brisbane that touched down just after sunset.  The flight - QLK2396 from Brisbane - was being operated by Dash-8-200 VH-SDE.

QantasLink has been the only airline to serve Thangool Airport for a number of years now. In previous years, Sunshine Express Airlines flew to Thangool Airport in partnership with QantasLink with Metro III and Metro 23 aircraft. Unfortunately, Sunshine Express ceased operating RPT services in September 2006.

Freight services operate into Thangool Airport during weekdays.  General Aviation Maintenance (GAM) AeroCommander 500-S aircraft fly into Thangool from Rockhampton, before departing to Gladstone the next morning.  Toll Express Metro freighters flying into Thangool from Emerald, before departing to Brisbane each evening. These flights are reversed the next morning, with the Metro arriving from Brisbane in the early morning, before departing to Emerald.  Stay tuned to CQ Plane Spotting in coming days, for a closer look at these freight operations at Thangool Airport!

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