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Freight link takes off

AUSTRALIAN air Express officially opened its expanded operations facility at Perth Airport last week.

The company – a joint venture between Qantas and Australia Post – celebrated a local $1 million acquisition, expansion and up-grade program that enables Australian air Express to handle 85,000 kilograms of freight into Perth each day.

With four dedicated freight planes coming to Perth, and 10,000 kilograms back-up capacity on Qantas passenger craft, Australian air Express can deal with 66,000 kilos of freight between Melbourne and Perth, and back, in a night.

Australian air Express chief executive Allen Buckley said Perth was uniquely different to the eastern States’ air freight markets, which competed with road and rail on overnight routes.

Hence, while Perth brings in 7 per cent of national revenue for Australian air Express, it accounts for 15 per cent of all freight received.

The expansion and upgrade included the purchase of the former Ansett air cargo facility at Perth Airport, the Ansett air freight Boeing 727, and an additional freight jet. Mr Buckley said this had boosted the company’s over-night capacity in and out of Perth by 30 per cent since September 2001.

Ground facilities have expanded by 120 per cent, to 6,180 square metres.

Australian air Express now operates three 727-200 jet freighters four times weekly on Perth-Sydney-Melbourne-Perth and Perth-Melbourne-Perth routes, and one on a Cairns-Perth-Melbourne-Brisbane-Townsville return route.

Mr Buckley admitted the expansion program was a brave one, ahead of some of the most daunting challenges facing the global air freight industry.

He conceded that costs for fuel, insurance and security were by no means certain going into the year.

“You can’t budget with surety,” Mr Buckley said.

“Any moment there could be surcharges.

“Customers are nervous.”

However, businesses faced challenges all the time, Mr Buckley said.

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