Update on Government International Air Freight Assistance Mechanism – Virtual Briefing Teleconference - AFIF Members Invited

Following the Federal government announcement regarding the Intl Air Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) recently, AFIF has been in regular contact through Austrade with the government appointed International Freight Coordinator General, Michael Byrne, to work on a number of issues in regard to how the project will work in practical terms. 

Michael Byrne has this morning advised Brian Lovell, AFIF CEO, that he will set up a specific Virtual Briefing Session on Tuesday, April 28th, to explain the operation of the IFAM in practical terms to our wider membership and to address a number of questions and concerns he is receiving from our industry about the project process (details will follow asap).

Updated details to date:

A ‘Coordination Panel’, has now been selected and will work with Austrade and the Dept.of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (AWE). It will comprise 11 Airlines and 6 International Freight Forwarders which has now been officially endorsed by the Federal Government.

The International Forwarder companies are:

Air Menzies Intl (AMI); CT Freight; DB Schenker; DHL Global Forwarding; Kuehne & Nagel; Toll. 

The Airlines are:

Cathay Pacific (CX); Emirates (EK); Etihad (EY); Fedex  FX); JAL (JL); Qantas (QF); Qatar (QR); Singapore (SQ); Virgin Australia (VA) – with two more to be announced early next week to assist the China bound commodities (current RFP issued to additional airlines)

  • The panel will now work together to evaluate the list of registered businesses and products (from the designated AWE registration process) to prioritise and plan the flight operations to uplift urgent, high-value, perishable goods with defined markets and most likely to be: China; Middle-East; Japan; Hong Kong; Singapore; Taiwan and potentially others where sufficient demand requires capacity for uplift. This last aspect will be ascertained from the registration process by exporters.
  • Other Forwarders will be involved to position the eligible product at the designated airport of departure.
  • The overall project is expected to last for several months. 
  • Time is of the essence to move critical perishable product to overseas markets and the Federal Government will also determine priority space for the import of urgent medical supplies.

It is also important to advise all International Freight Forwarders that Grants and Blocks of space will be available to individual Forwarders and consortiums of Forwarders and/or Shippers who have large shipments of eligible items. Contact should be made with Austrade quoting the IFAM project as the reference.


The Australian Government has announced a new $110 million initiative to re-launch hundreds of flights to deliver fresh produce to key international markets as part of a $170 million boost to an export sector grounded by the coronavirus emergency.

The International Freight Assistance Mechanism will initially focus on the key markets of China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE, with four key departure hubs: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Return flights, under the program, will provide an opportunity for Australia to import medical equipment and medicines.

Government Announcement - Securing freight access for Australian agricultural and fisheries exporters (click)

Factsheet with more details Factsheet (click)

Austrade Website Information on the International Air freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) Project

 AFIF will keep members informed of progress.