In a first for Cairns Airport, Singapore Airlines will commence a weekly non-stop freight service from Cairns to the Lion City. From today an Airbus A350-900 passenger aircraft will be used as a cargo-only flight to carry produce from Far North Queensland direct to Singapore. The service will provide Far North Queensland producers direct access into markets served by the airline beyond their Singapore hub, including other major centres in Asia and destinations in the Middle East, Europe and North America.
Cairns Airport CEO Richard Barker said, “with the uncertainty around exports to China, having a direct service to Singapore provides an excellent opportunity for local suppliers to diversify the markets they serve”.
The service will operate every Friday until early February utilising the space on the aircraft that would normally be reserved for passenger luggage. “Moving forward there is a real opportunity to build freight services from Cairns, either as standalone services or when international travel resumes, supporting the re-introduction of passenger operations” added Richard.
Singapore Airlines Regional Vice President South West Pacific, Mr Philip Goh, said Singapore Airlines had remained committed to supporting Australian producers and keeping key trade channels open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since March, when travel demand plummeted due to travel restrictions and border closures, we continued to operate additional cargo-only flights, ensuring critical medical supplies could be brought into Australia and producers and exporters had access to cargo capacity to move their goods from Australia to the world,” Mr Goh said
“Prior to COVID-19, our regional wing, SilkAir, proudly operated to Cairns, connecting it to our famous Singapore hub. Until passenger services are able to return to Cairns sometime in the future, we are pleased to be able to continue supporting the Far North Queensland market by operating our weekly cargo-only passenger flight from Cairns to Singapore.
“Thanks to the support of the Australian Government’s IFAM programme, we are able to realise our commitment of connecting Australia to the world. We look forward to taking Far North Queensland produce to Singapore and to markets beyond.”
This service is supported by the Federal Governments’ International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM). Qantas Freight currently operates services from Cairns to Hong Kong.