Freight flights will depart from Hobart Airport twice a week from next week, as part of a new government initiative that partially underwrites agriculture and fisheries routes cut off by the coronavirus crisis.
The cargo will stop at Sydney first, before then travelling to Asia carrying produce such as seafood, fruit and salad.
Australian Aviation previously reported that 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.
Appearing on ABC radio, Tasmanian 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.”
Nationally, 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.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said earlier, “We’ve already seen lobster from Western Australia, lamb from Victoria and salmon from Tasmania shipped to international ports and markets.
“The quicker we can get our products off the farm and onto airplanes, the more Australian jobs we can save and the quicker our agricultural exporters can bounce back.”