Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Miles Airport - Fast Growing Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) Hub of the Western Downs - Soon to Have QantasLink Scheduled Services

Miles Airport (ICAO: YMLS / IATA: WLE) is located on the Leichhardt Highway approximately 19 km South of the Leichhardt and Warrego Highway intersection, near the town Miles.  It also sits 14 km North of the Leichhardt Highway and Roma-Condamine Road intersection, near the town of Condamine.  It is operated by the Western Downs Regional Council, which of note also operates the Chinchilla Aerodrome.

The Airport underwent a major expansion in 2013 to meet the needs of the Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry in the region.  The Airport runway was lengthened to 1590 metres and widened to 30 metres.  It was also strengthened, and is now capable of landing turbro-prop aircraft up to Dash-8-Q400 size, as well as regional jet aircraft including Fokker 70s and BAe 146s.  Vincent Aviation BAe 146-200 ZK-ECO is shown below arriving from Brisbane.

The growth of the CSG industry has seen an large jump in Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charter flights in and out of Miles, with the Airport play host to as many as a dozen arrivals and departures during most weekdays, from aircraft such as smaller King Airs through to larger SAAB 340s, Dash-8s and Fokker 50s from various ports in the South-East corner of Queensland.  Skytrans Airlines Dash-8-300 VH-QQP is shown below.

Miles Airport also has several jet aircraft touching down on FIFO duties - mostly Alliance Airlines Fokker 70 jets which touch down from Brisbane - as VH-JFB is shown below.

CQ Plane Spotting Blog fan Scott W - who also works at Miles Airport - has kindly allowed me to share with you some recent photos he captured of some of the recent FIFO activity that the Miles Airport has seen.

Of note is that QantasLink - who currently operate regular FIFO charters to Miles from Brisbane - will commence the Airports first ever regular passenger transport (RPT) scheduled flights from and to Brisbane in early April.  Dash-8-Q300 VH-SBW is shown below on a recent FIFO flight from Brisbane.

The Western Downs and Surat Basin is certainly a growth area, and all indications suggest that Miles Airport will be at the centre of the growth, providing a FIFO hub and scheduled services for the region.

Thanks to Scott for allowing me to share his images!

Photos taken by Scott Williamson  ©

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