Brisbane Wellcamp Airport has seen a seen a freighter take-off for the first time after a Cathay Pacific Cargo Boeing 747-8 Freighter flew to China last week.
Farmers in one Australia’s largest agricultural basins are celebrating the one-off service, which gave Darling Downs producers the chance to send fresh produce direct to the world’s biggest consumer market.
With annual agricultural production of more than 660 million Australia dollars ($482 million) – Wellcamp is set to become a major international airfreight hub for the region.
Wagners’ global chairman and airport developer John Wagner says the flight to Hong Kong International Airport had opened the door to direct access to the Asian market.
He says local producers should be commended for taking advantage of the opportunity provided: “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,” explains Wagner.
Cathay Pacific Airways Southwest Pacific general manager, Nelson Chin says 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 explains.
The freight included 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
747-8F at Wellcamp today,” adds Chin.
In November, the Toowoomba region supplied 80 per cent of all avocados sold in Australia, and egg produces account for about 85 per cent 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.