Cathay airfreight

In a boost to Australia’s exporters, the Australian government has announced the extension of its International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) through to 30 September 2021.

Originally established at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the airfreight assistance programme has been extended multiple times already.

The programme has already helped more than 135,000 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables worth around A$1.2bn (US$920m) reach international markets at a time when flights were limited, and prices were high.

Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Auckland and Dubai were among the top destinations for fresh produce.

The programme will continue to be led by air vice-marshal Margaret Staib as the Australian government freight controller, supported by Michael Byrne as the international freight coordinator general.

'In an ideal world, IFAM would no longer be needed, but while we’re here, we’re determined to do everything we can to build resilience back into our supply chains, protect Australia’s sovereign aviation capability and aid Australia’s Covid-19 recovery efforts,” said Staib.