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Singapore A350-900 passenger jet flies cargo from SA

written by Adam Thorn | May 6, 2020

A file image of a Singapore Airlines A350-900 at Melbourne. (Rob Finlayson)
A Singapore Airlines A350-900 departs from Melbourne. (Rob Finlayson)

A Singapore Airlines A350-900 passenger jet carrying only cargo departed Adelaide on Wednesday morning carrying more than 30 tonnes of meat, seafood and mining equipment to the airline’s home city.

The flight, the first of six, is part of a new Australian government initiative to underwrite agriculture and fisheries airfreight routes cut off by the coronavirus crisis.

The cargo will make its way to Singapore before continuing on to Hong Kong, Thailand, China, Vietnam and the USA. On its return, it will bring urgent medical supplies to South Australia.

The flag carrier is one of 15 airlines to sign up to the new $110 million “International Freight Assistance Mechanism” (IFAM).

During the pandemic, Singapore Airlines has continued to operate its scheduled 747-400 freighter services to Australia, while adding in a handful of Passenger Aircraft Carrying Cargo only (PACC) and chartered flights.


A further five IFAM-supported PACC flights are planned for operation over the coming five weeks, with the next flight scheduled for Wednesday, 13 May.

Other airlines in the scheme include Qantas and Virgin Australia as well as Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Federal Express, Japan Airlines, Qatar, CT Freight, Schenker Australia, Kuehne + Nagel, Air Menzies International, Toll and DHL Global Forwarding.

The IFAM will initially focus on restoring critical global supply chains for agriculture and fisheries producers, and will work by partially offsetting the cost of airfreight.

Last week, Australian Aviation heard how former air vice-marshal Margaret Staib was appointed as Australia’s first Freight Controller, tasked with kickstarting essential inbound freight including medical supplies.

Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham said, “Maintaining our airfreight capacity is crucial to keeping businesses open and protecting livelihoods through this crisis and will be a critical part of our economic recovery.

“By maximising co-ordination efforts we can ensure our farmers and fishers can get their high-quality produce on flights and into key overseas markets while also bringing back vital medical supplies for Australia.”

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Comments (7)

  • Pete


    Ahh, Australian taxpayer money being used to support non Australian airlines at a time of mass unemployment in the industry…What is wrong with us that we cannot help ourselves even when we really need to??

  • Barry Jackson


    Almost 30000 people stood down in the Aviation industry in Australia and we use a foreign carrier? Singapore Airlines was gifted just over $20 billion by the Singapore Government and in the meantime we are handing $75 million a month in welfare to Aussie Aviation workers. This doesn’t make sense at all!

  • Peter


    I assume the Qantas and Virgin costs are too excessive to compete with Singapore Airlines, otherwise why use them.

  • Meeski


    I know Qantas and Virgin are doing some of these freight runs but I have to ask why the Australian government is subsidising international companies for these tasks rather than giving all this work to Australian based airlines and keeping some Australian people employed

  • Ron Hunter


    I read this headline as though SIA had packed 900 passengers into an A350 !

  • Stuart


    The reason for using SIA would be that with their hub in Singapore they are better positioned to take mixed freight out of Australia and then break it up into smaller shipments and distribute it to many different cities in Asia and Europe. Qantas cannot do this as they only have a few international destinations.

  • Wayne


    Why are dedicated freight carriers such as DHL, FedEx & Tol part of the scheme? I would have thought they were busier than ever anyway given the loss of co-load capacity on passenger services.

    Am I missing something?

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