Farmers in one Australia’s largest agricultural basins are celebrating the inaugural international freight flight out of Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport today.
Darling Downs producers are sending fresh produce direct to China, the world’s biggest consumer market, on the Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8 freighter out of their local airport.
With annual agricultural production of more than $660 million, Wellcamp Airport is set to become a major international air freight hub for the region.
Wagners’ global chairman and airport developer John Wagner said today’s flight to Hong Kong had opened the door to direct access to the Asian market.
“Today is an historic day and we hope to work with Cathay Pacific to secure scheduled services out of Wellcamp,” said Mr Wagner.
He said local producers should be commended for taking advantage of the opportunity provided by one of the world’s leading international air cargo carriers.
“These are exciting times for local farmers and we anticipate endless possibilities for our region and the future has never been brighter.
“International flights from Wellcamp would give local producers faster access to their key markets. For many it would mean the difference between a next day delivery and having to send produce first to ports like Sydney,” said Mr Wagner.
Cathay Pacific Airways, Southwest Pacific general manager Nelson Chin said the flight had attracted a great deal of interest from local freight forwarders.
‘It is exciting to see so much highly-sought after produce and equipment on board this special flight,” he said.
The freight includes two helicopters to Miami; chilled beef to Hong Kong, frozen beef to Shanghai as well as lettuce, pecans and mangoes from South-east Queensland.
“We will continue to work with the team at Wellcamp Airport and evaluate opportunities going forward and see where this will take us, but we’re very happy to have our Boeing
747-8 freighter at Wellcamp today.
“We also congratulate the airport on its recent 12-month anniversary and on today becoming the 436th airport in the world approved for 747-8 operations,” said Mr Chin.
- In November, the Toowoomba region supplied 80% of all avocados sold in Australia.
- Toowoomba region egg producers account for about 85% of Queensland’s total egg production.
- The largest agriculture commodities exported from the Toowoomba region are grains (including sorghum, corn and other cereals) and meat and meat products (including beef, lamb, edible offal, tallow and hides). Produce like lettuce, seedless watermelons and avocados are also currently exported in small quantities.
- Australia’s leading producer of organic free-range chicken is located in the region. Also, one of the leading poultry farmers and egg producers in Australia is near Toowoomba.
- An average year sees exports of grain and meat from the Toowoomba region as follows:Grain:
- 13,955 TEU (standard twenty foot shipping container)
- Meat: 13,000 TEU