Cathay Pacific runs airfreight test flight to Wellcamp Airport
11 / 12 / 2015
Cathay Pacific has run an air cargo test flight to the Australian town of Toowoomba to gauge commercial interest in the region and to test operations.
The Hong Kong-headquartered carrier deployed a Boeing 747-8 Freighter to Wellcamp Airport, which is located in one of Queensland’s richest agricultural areas.
The airline said the privately owned infrastructure presents a good opportunity for the cargo business, and offers an option for a 24/7 alternative for Brisbane-bound flights. Meanwhile, a free trade agreement was recently signed by Australia and China.
Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing Mark Sutch said: “The demand for safe provenance of food into China is growing very fast. Currently, Cathay’s freighter services to the existing ports of Sydney and Melbourne are limited, so we need to look for new opportunities.”
The trial flight carried more than 70 tonnes of produce, chilled beef, mangoes and pecans bound for Hong Kong and China as well as two helicopters.
“The origin for the helicopters was Brisbane, which was a one-hour truck to Wellcamp versus a day transit into Sydney – our closest main deck port for freighters,” Sutch added.
“There are also import opportunities, for example the oil and gas sector.”
At an event to welcome the aircraft attended by local shippers, Cathay general manager Southwest Pacific Nelson Chin said: “We are always looking for new opportunities around the world. And they are not always passenger destinations.
"In fact, five of the 12 newest ports on the Cathay Pacific network to be announced or introduced over the past two years were purely for freighters.”
Sutch added: “It has been exciting to be part of a project that is a first for this new airport. We managed to test the practical aspects from the flight operations and cargo services’ points of view, and have a commercial success at the same time. This flight has been very satisfying for all involved.”