CATHAY Pacific is increasing its direct services between Hong Kong and Brisbane from four to six per week.

According to a statement from the Queensland government, the extra flights will make available 50 tonnes of airfreight per week.

During 2021-22, $157 million in fresh food, pharmaceutical and manufactured goods exports were exported to Hong Kong from Queensland via airfreight.

Heidi Walker from Walker Seafoods, a Sunshine Coast-based exporter, said more flights through Brisbane means the company can export more.

“We’ve been hamstrung trying to get our exports onto planes due to the limited capacity. We don’t like trucking to Sydney, it’s not good for the product, it’s not reliable and it adds a long time and cost to the trip,” she said.

Cathay Pacific acting regional manager southwest Pacific Sandeep Pillay said Brisbane is a key port for Cathay Pacific for both cargo and travel services.

Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff said the link between Brisbane and Hong Kong is one of the region’s most critical for Queensland exports

“This will deliver money into the pockets of rural producers across the state, as well as local seafood companies, and of course tourism operators, Mr De Graaff said.

“This week, 41 years ago, we celebrated the arrival of the very first Cathay Pacific 747 to Brisbane. And today we celebrate the expansion of this service as we slowly build back to full pre-Covid flight schedule.”

QLD tourism minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the extra outbound airfreight capacity would deliver new international opportunities for exporters.

“Whether it’s our world-class seafood or pharmaceuticals, increasing airfreight into Hong Kong and beyond supports local exporters to grow and create more good Queensland jobs,” he said.

The QLD government said the increase in flights was backed by its $200-millioin Attracting Aviation Investment Fund with the state’s international airports.