Cathay Pacific is to launch a weekly freighter service to Brisbane West Wellcamp airport in November, it said today.

The freighter service – the first to that airport – will operate Hong Kong–Sydney–Melbourne–Brisbane West Wellcamp–Hong Kong every Monday, with a 747-8F.

The carrier said it anticipated high volumes of fresh produce as well as machinery to support mining and manufacturing in the region.

“Cathay Pacific Cargo is always looking for opportunities to grow our freighter business, and at the same time boost Hong Kong’s standing as one of the world’s key international airfreight hubs,” said cargo director Simon Large.

“With our successful Boeing 747-8F trial flight into Brisbane West Wellcamp last year, followed by strong support from the community of southern Queensland, we are excited to introduce this new service to support shippers in the region.

“With growing demand from mainland China for Australia’s agricultural products, we are confident our service will provide local businesses with a competitive advantage as the benefits of the new China-Australia Free Trade Agreement increase.”

Meanwhile, Cargo Facts has reported that Atlas Air has placed a firm order for nine passenger-to-freighter conversions of 767-300s. The order forms part of its agreement with Amazon Prime Air, which requires it to offer the retailer 20 767-300Fs by the end of 2018.

Atlas’s dry leasing arm Titan will lease the freighters to Amazon, which will hand them to Atlas to operate.

Atlas is also due to start twice-weekly fifth freedom freighter services between Hong Kong and Doha before October 20. The service was reallocated from an existing traffic right which allowed Atlas to fly Hong Kong to Ciudad Del Esta, Paraguay, and Hong Kong to Sharjah. It may not fly those routes once it has begun its Qatar service.

In other freighter news, Uruguay carrier Air Class Aéreas has secured an AOC from Chile, allowing it to enter the market there. The carrier operates two 727-200Fs and three Metroliner freighters throughout South America.

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