Wellcamp airport deal takes exports to the skies
UPDATE: A deal between Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport and Cathay Pacific for a weekly freight flight between Toowoomba and Hong Kong demonstrates the strength of state's agricultural export sector, the state's deputy premier says.
Minister for Trade and Investment Jackie Trad welcomed the announcement and said it was a clear endorsement of the ever-increasing export opportunities for Queensland agricultural producers and exporters.
She said they now had a direct line to one of our region's most lucrative markets.
"I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate Brisbane West Wellcamp and Wagners on this fantastic initiative for the Darling Downs and Toowoomba region," Ms Trad said.
"The emerging Asian middle-class is driving up demand for clean, green produce and Queensland is perfectly placed to capitalise on this demand, delivering jobs and economic growth right throughout Queensland.
"The Palaszczuk Government is committed to driving opportunities for our exporters which is why in May this year we declared the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport a strategic airport to support its growth."
Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Leanne Donaldson said that the announcement would support local producers.
"The practical effect of this announcement is that producers in the Darling Downs and Toowoomba can now export their fresh produce directly from the region in which it was produced," Ms Donaldson said.
"On my recent trade mission to Hong Kong it was clear that there is a significant appetite for Queensland products and this announcement will help our farmers to take advantage of this demand and increase efficiency."
In announcing the news Global Chairman of Wagners and airport developer John Wagner said the announcement was a coup for local producers.
"We are absolutely delighted Cathay Pacific has committed to operating a scheduled weekly service out of the airport," Mr Wagner said.
"The opportunities this creates for Queensland exporters to access the world's biggest consumer markets are unlimited."
The service will be operated on a Cathay Pacific 747-8F. Menzies Aviation, in partnership with Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, will manage the ground handling and cargo terminal operations.
EARLIER: Darling Downs producers now have a regular export link to Asia with the announcement of a weekly freight flight from Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport.
Cathay Pacific Airways will operate a weekly international Boeing 747-8F service out of Wellcamp from November 22.
The regular service from Toowoomba to Hong Kong comes a year after the first test international freight flight year last November.
Wagners' global chairman and airport developer John Wagner said the commitment by Cathay Pacific created opportunities for Queensland exporters to benefit from Australia's free trade agreements.
"Establishing the freight service could not have been possible without the assistance of Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise," Mr Wagner said.
"We are on the cusp of very exciting times and the reality for our multi-million-dollar agricultural and processing sectors is produce, like chilled beef and other perishables will be able to fly direct to Asia from the region in which they are produced."
Food Leaders Australia chief executive officer Ben Lyons said the service was another major milestone for the airport and producers.
"This new freight service means we could potentially put produce on the plates at restaurants in Hong Kong faster than we can get it to Melbourne," Dr Lyons said.
"This freight service will bridge the distance between Darling Downs producers and the Asian market."
Dr Lyons said establishing Southern Queensland's only scheduled international air freight-only service was about two years in the making.
"The flight in November last year proved the region had both the product and capacity to export to the Asian market and gives producers the exporting edge," Dr Lyons said.
The service will initially depart from Sydney, then land in Melbourne, with a final stop in Toowoomba before the nine-hour direct flight to Hong Kong.
Dr Lyons said demand for export opportunities was also shown through the Western Downs Eastern Opportunities program, giving producers export-ready skills.
"Along with the AccessChina'16 flight this month, Wellcamp airport is showing itself as the gateway to the Darling Downs."
EARLIER: An international weekly scheduled air cargo service will begin operating out of Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport as of next month.
It is another major milestone for the Toowoomba airport.
The Cathy Pacific Airways 747-8F service between Toowoomba and Hong Kong will start on November 22.
It will be southern Queensland's only scheduled international air freight-only service.
Wagner's global chairman and airport developer John Wagner said it was a major coup not only for the airport but also for Queensland's primary producers and exporters.
"We are absolutely delighted Cathy Pacific has committed to operating a scheduled weekly Boeing 747-8F service out of the airport," he said.
"The opportunities this creates for Queensland exporters to benefit from Australia's free trade agreements and to access the world's biggest consumer markets are unlimited.
"We are on the cusp of very exciting times and the reality for our multi-million dollar agricultural and processing sectors is produce like chilled beef and other perishables will be able to fly direct to Asia from the region in which they are produced, creating both valuable first mile and cool chain efficiencies and enabling significant capacity for the growth of the trade."
The announcement comes less than 12 months after Cathy pacific Airways flew a Boeing 747-8F from Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport to Hong Kong on a trial service.
The international scheduled weekly freight service will be operated on a Cathy Pacific 747-8F which will initially depart from Sydney then land in Melbourne, with a final stop in Toowoomba before the nine-hour direct flight to Hong Kong.
Menzies Aviation, in partnership with the airport, will manage the ground handling and cargo terminal operations.