The Australian government has added more flights to its International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) as it continues to support exporters effected by Covid-19 disruption.
The IFAM was announced at the start of April in response to the global airfreight downturn initiated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Its aim was to help ensure key Australian imports and exports, including fresh produce, could continue in the face of a significant reduction of flights.
Over the past two months the scheme has continued to expand, adding more destinations and departure points. This includes adding two flights out of Toowoomba, Queensland to Hong Kong and Singapore.
Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland, said the second of these flights would leave for the first time on 19 June carrying “world-class” produce so Singapore.
“This is the second IFAM flight from Wellcamp Airport (Toowoomba) with the first being a Cathay Pacific flight laden with Darling Downs produce headed to Hong Kong just last Sunday,” Palaszczuk said.
“It is expected to include high-value produce from across South-East Queensland including our world-class beef, fruit and vegetables.”
Palaszczuk said the scheme would be essential in helping Australian exporters respond to rebounding demand.
“These subsidised flights are getting Queensland agricultural produce back on dining tables and into supermarkets and restaurants in key global markets as demand for our exports returns on the back of Covid-19 restrictions easing,” said Palaszczuk.
The IFAM now has includes 18 flights departing from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Cairns, Toowoomba plus two internal routes - Hobart to Sydney and Darwin to Brisbane – which connect with international IFAM flights.
These allow exporters to reach destinations now including Tokyo, Dubai, Los Angeles, Singapore, Auckland, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi.