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Pionair BAe 146-300 starts Hobart freight initiative

written by Adam Thorn | May 27, 2020

Pionair BAe 146-300 (Rob Finlayson)
A Pionair BAe 146-300 starts a service the government hopes will salvage Tasmania’s freight operation (Rob Finlayson)

A new government scheme to underwrite agriculture and fishery cargo previously cut off by the coronavirus crisis began in Hobart today.

Long-time Australian Aviation photographer Rob Finlayson captured the moment the Pionair BAe 146-300 freighter was being loaded up with produce such as seafood, fruit and salad.

Nationally, 15 airlines have signed up to the $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), which will initially focus on key markets of China, Japan, Hong Kong and the UAE.

The Hobart flights will from now on depart twice a week, heading to Sydney before continuing on to Asia.

Currently, scheduled flights into Hobart are limited to a Qantas Freight 737 Monday to Friday, and a Jetstar A320 daily.

The government, therefore, hopes these new supported flights will provide much-needed capacity for Tasmanian exporters.

Appearing on ABC radio last week, senator Jonathon Duniam said, “We know after the outbreak that planes stopped flying, but that doesn’t mean demand stopped. The latest part of [the government initiative] is the Hobart to Sydney airlink twice a week and possibly three times. We’re supporting small and medium-sized business.


“This will help get those goods to China, India and parts of the world where demand is high for produce such as seafood, lettuce and lobster. Each flight will have a capacity of 15 tonnes, and the industry is filling the planes.”

The first airlines and freight companies to sign up for IFAM are Qantas and Virgin Australia, as well as Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Federal Express, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar, CT Freight, Schenker Australia, Kuehne & Nagel, Air Menzies International, Toll and DHL Global Forwarding.

Comments (3)

  • Well done Adam for this report and also to Rob for his excellent photo of the 146 series 300 being loaded. This is the stretched fuselage version of the Bae 146.

  • Teiemka


    Seriously there is a market for airfreight of lettuce to Asia…….

  • Peter


    Lettuce was exported to the UK many years ago.

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