Written by: Story by Helen Walker published by Queensland Country life November 2015
Posted on: 26 Nov 2015
Topic: General Articles
MONDAY was a historic day for Australian agriculture with many rural producers celebrating the inaugural international freight flight out of the privately owned Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport on Toowoomba's outskirts.
With annual agricultural production of more than $660 million, Wellcamp Airport is set to become a major international freight hub which could include live cattle export in the future.
Wagner's global chairman and airport developer John Wagner said the Monday's flight to Hong Kong had opened the door to direct access to the Asian market.
"It is a historic day and we hope to work with Cathay Pacific to secure scheduled services out of Wellcamp,"Mr Wagner said.
"These are exciting times for rural producers and we anticipate endless possibilities for our region.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we have our first live cattle shipment in the next couple of months - about a 350 head consignment.
Freight included chilled boxed primal cuts of beef from meat processors, lettuce, mangoes and pecan nuts, plus two helicopters manufactured at Miami, on the Gold Coast.
According to Bindaree Beef chief financial officer, James Roger, Inverell, the international flights from Wellcamp were the key to his company's growth and expansion into Asia, and would provide them with a faster time to key markets.
"We are fortunate that Wagners had the foresight to develop Australia's first privately owned public airport which will foster trade with Asia and enable us to strengthen our access to our customers;' Mr Roger said.
"We have one-and-a-half tonnes of chilled primal cuts going into our Hong Kong market.
“In 10 years time, people will look back on this inaugural flight and say 'as if they wouldn't build an airport in Toowoomba”
"We got involved because we want this service to work and get our product into these markets much quicker and fresher”
Anthony Joseph, of Alfred E Chave, Rocklea Markets, exports fresh fruit and vegetables by both air and sea freight to 20 markets across the globe.
'We normally export 1500 tonnes of mangoes, melons, and stone fruits annually.
"The produce is usually transported by road to Sydney to access air cargo freight, so we see this flight as wonderful foresight and initiative without measure."