The potential to increase domestic air freight from Bundaberg Airport has been identified in a pre-feasibility study commissioned by Bundaberg Regional Council.
Undertaken by specialist aviation consultants Avistra, the study was tasked to consider the commercial viability of domestic or international air freight services at Bundaberg Regional Airport.
The consultants reviewed available data and surveyed local businesses.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said COVID-19 had severely impacted the aviation industry and the long-term consequences are unclear.
“The survey revealed that many businesses were unaware that air freight services already exist through Qantas and Toll,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the reduction in Qantas flights means there is less capacity for air freight.
“One of the report’s recommendations was to raise awareness among industry about the current opportunities.”
Mayor Dempsey said Council will work with local businesses, airlines and transport companies to identify growth opportunities for domestic air freight from Bundaberg.
“The consultants recommend a staged approach, maximising current services and encouraging airlines to increase capacity when there is demonstrated demand,” he said.
“That may involve providing suitable cold storage at Bundaberg Airport to handle perishable goods.
“There are also growth prospects in specialised aviation such as aeromedical and emergency services.
“Bundaberg is an ideal location, close to major markets and outside the Great Barrier Reef. Our airport also offers cheaper development opportunities, more available air space and less congestion than Brisbane.”
Airport portfolio spokesperson Cr Greg Barnes said the study confirms that international air freight is currently unviable.
“One of the issues is the lack of demand for imports,” he said.
“Airlines are not going to start an export operation unless there are goods coming the other way.
“The consultants identified opportunities to increase Australian tourism to Bundaberg while global travel is disrupted through coronavirus, and that will be our focus over the next few years because it also expands the capability for domestic air freight.”
- Other news: Bundaberg Region farm export growth forecast