It will be the first time an international flight will depart from Australiaâ€™s newest airport and the first time Cathay Pacific Airways has operated a cargo service into an Australian regional centre.
Airport developer Wagners global chairman John Wagner said the flight would mark not only a major aviation milestone but a significant commercial initiative for the country.
â€œThe China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is likely to come into force by the end of the year. We are on the cusp of a massive export opportunity that will give local producers access to markets that feed half of the worldâ€™s population and this flight is the first step towards achieving this long-term goal. We are thrilled Cathay Pacific Airways, one of the worldâ€™s leading airlines, is focusing on our region,â€ said Mr Wagner, whose airport celebrates its one-year anniversary on November 17.
He said as Australiaâ€™s second largest agricultural basin it made commercial sense to build an airport in the region with a 2.87km runway that could accommodate large freight aircraft. The plane will carry local Darling Downs produce when it departs Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport for Cathay Pacific Airwaysâ€™ main Asian hub at Hong Kong International Airport.
Cathay Pacific Airways Southwest Pacific general manager Nelson Chin said the company was excited about bringing its 747-8 freighter into Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport later this month. At 76.3 metres long with a wingspan of 68.4 metres, the Boeing 747-800 freighter is larger than its predecessor the B747-400 and is quieter, more economical and environmentally-friendly. They now make up 13 of Cathay Pacific’s 24 freighter aircraft.
â€œCathay Pacific is one of the worldâ€™s leading international air cargo carriers and we are always looking for new opportunities. In fact, of the 12 new destinations that have been announced or commenced operations over the past two years, five are for freight only. We also congratulate Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport on its 12-month anniversary of operations,” Mr Chin said.
â€œThis is a very exciting time for Australian exporters, and it seems South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales producers and businesses have enormous potential for growth after the signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.