Flights to open new mar­kets

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - Jac­inta Can­ta­tore

Di­rect flights from Perth to Tokyo could boost the ex­port po­ten­tial for fruit and veg­etable grow­ers in the South West.

The in­au­gu­ral All Nip­pon Air­ways flight from Tokyo to Perth touched down on Sun­day night, the first di­rect flight be­tween the two cities in al­most a decade.

At present grow­ers from the re­gion have to ex­port their pro­duce from the East­ern States, lead­ing to knock-on ef­fects such as ship­ment de­lays when con­nect­ing flights are can­celled or post­poned.

Wa­roona rock­melon grower Dane Ca­pogreco, from Ca­pogreco Farms, said the di­rect flights would in­crease re­li­a­bil­ity for pro­duc­ers and their whole­sale buy­ers in Ja­pan.

“We cur­rently need to fly with Qan­tas from Perth via Bris­bane or Syd­ney to go di­rect into Ja­pan,” Mr Ca­pogreco said.

“This is a ma­jor has­sle as they some­times miss the con­nect­ing flight and we have many de­lays and let our cus­tomers down on the ex­pected ar­rival time.”

These de­lays can some­times be caused by a lack of ca­pac­ity on the air­craft for the vol­ume be­ing shipped and have led to ship­ments be­ing de­layed up to 48 hours.

“We were al­ways wait­ing on con­fir­ma­tion and some­times one to two days de­lay be­fore we could send as they couldn’t han­dle the vol­ume we had to send,” he said.

With a travel time of about nine hours on the di­rect flights, Mr Ca­pogreco said he ex­pected to be able to de­liver a more stream­lined ser­vice.

“We will then be able to branch out to other des­ti­na­tions like Hiroshima, Ky­oto and Osaka via Tokyo and hope­fully sup­ply the prod­uct much quicker than we have done in the past,” he said.

Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Food Alan­nah MacTier­nan said the B787-8 air­craft used on the new route pro­vides a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 15 tonnes per flight.

“The ad­di­tion of di­rect air ac­cess from Perth to Ja­pan can pro­vide new op­por­tu­ni­ties for the ex­port of per­ish­able, high­value agri­cul­ture and food prod­ucts,” Ms MacTier­nan said.

She said Ja­pan was a key mar­ket for per­ish­able, high-value agri­cul­ture and food prod­ucts such as chilled and frozen meat, with $52.1 mil­lion worth of meat ex­ported dur­ing 2017-18.

“All Nip­pon Air­ways’ do­mes­tic net­work in­cludes over 50 des­ti­na­tions in Ja­pan, with more than 800 pas­sen­ger flights per day, pro­vid­ing the WA agri­cul­ture and food in­dus­try ac­cess to Ja­panese cities be­yond Tokyo.”

Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Food Alan­nah MacTier­nan.

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