MAJOR cargo carrier Korean Air will start flying to Brisbane five times a week from April this year.

Brisbane Airport Corporation said the South Korean airline is one of the world’s largest cargo carriers, and that Queensland exporters would welcome the freight capacity of the Boeing 777 aircrafts.

The new flights are part of a deal signed under Queensland’s $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund.

The AAIF aims to support the growth of service frequency, capacity and international aviation routes into Queensland’s airports.

Ryan Both, executive general manager of aviation at Brisbane Airport Corporation, said the Korean Air announcement is great news for Queensland.

“South Korea is our third largest trading market and a major technology partner in Queensland’s new energy economy,” he said.

“This year will mark 30 years since Korean Air first started flying to Brisbane. Flights were of course halted due to the pandemic. It will be great to have them back permanently,”

Saturday (11 February) marked the one-year anniversary of the AAIF. The fund is jointly funded by the Queensland government and the state’s four international gateway airports in Brisbane, Cairns, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

Brisbane Airport Corporation said every additional flight from Brisbane Airport creates up to 20 tonnes of outbound cargo capacity, creating “vast opportunities” for Queensland exporters.

“During December and January, international travel at [Brisbane Airport] was back to 61% of pre-Covid levels, so we still have a way to go to rebuild our network,” Mr Both said.

“But compared with one year ago when we were at just 2% capacity, we have come a long way.

“There remains a shortage of aircraft and flight crew so every time a jet becomes available, we are competing with cities across the globe for that new service.

“This fund helps give Queensland the edge at a time when every flight means more local jobs and more Queensland exports.”

Queensland’s first deal under AAIF saw the development of the United Airlines route from San Francisco to Brisbane. The service launched in October last year.

According to Brisbane Airport Corporation, return flights to San Francisco have carried hundreds of tonnes of chilled Queensland beef, fresh seafood, automotive parts, cosmetics and other high-value exports, generating millions of dollars for local companies.

The new Korean Air service is also expected to open up an additional 89,000 inbound passenger seats each year and support 1230 direct and indirect jobs in Queensland.