AU: NSW exporters to benefit from regional freight airports plan

A government plan to provide regional freight airports in NSW would halve the delivery time for produce grown in Orange, according to cherry grower Fiona Hall.

Mrs Hall has welcomed plans announced by deputy premier John Barilaro for an investigation into creating freight terminals.
She said if Orange Regional Airport was chosen it could reduce the time it took to "pick, pack and send" cherries and other fruit from Orange to key south-east Asian markets from 48-72 hours down to 24 hours.

"It is all about the timing of getting to the market before our competitors," she said.

Currently trucks take the fruit from the packing and processing shed on her property, Caernarvon, to Sydney airport. She said about 1300 tonnes of cherries were transported across the annual six-week cherry season bound for Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia and China.

Mrs Hall said in the last season competition for space on aircraft with other produce including mangoes and nectarines led to delays.

Consultant KPMG has been awarded the tender to complete a pre-feasibility study into existing and new sites for building regional freight airports.

Orange City Council has received a survey from KPMG and will complete it and return it to boost the selection chances for Orange.

Mayor Reg Kidd said Orange would mount a strong case.
"I have no doubt we'll be in the mix," he said.
Cr Kidd said council owned land around the airport that could be utilised for any expansion of facilities for a freight airport.

He said apart from cherries and apples such a facility might encourage growers to look at other produce including plums, pears, nectarines and cut flowers for export.


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