RESEARCH just released by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and BIS Oxford Economics’ reports goods travelling in international aircraft arriving and leaving Australia are worth $109bn annually – a fact that, until today, has been entirely hidden.

The 2019 International Airfreight Indicator, reports one in every five dollars of Australia’s traded goods travels via air.

“Every day more than 550 international flights arrive and depart Australia, yet until now, we have been remarkably blind to the value, the type of commodity, and the economic contribution of goods that travel in the belly of these aircraft,” said Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chief executive Adrian Dwyer.

“In a national first, the 2019 International Airfreight Indicator shines a light on a multi-billion industry that has historically gone unnoticed in our broader trade debate.

“The Indicator shows that airports are crucial to our trade story, and the cargo transported beneath passengers is vitally important to airlines, airports and the Australian economy.”

Mr Dwyer said last year $109bn of international trade passed through Australia’s airports, with airfreight set to top $114bn this financial year.

“While airfreight only represents 1% of Australia’s trade volume, it punches well above its weight in value. One in every $5 of Australia’s imports and exports travels via our airports – making the airfreight sector one of the largest value contributors to Australia’s trade position.”

Mr Dwyer said in a period of heightened trade tensions and structural economic change, data was critical in improving planning, regulation and investment in freight.

“Without useful data to examine and measure our freight sector we will be flying blind on our international trade,” he said. “That is why Infrastructure Partnerships Australia has called on Government to establish a dedicated freight body to independently measure and publish detailed analysis of the overall performance of our logistic and supply chain networks.”