Fredericton airport lands seafood cargo flight

New Brunswick's largest in-land airport has landed a weekly seafood cargo flight.

Moncton airport hopes to attract a direct cargo flight to Europe, Asia

New Brunswick's largest in-land airport has landed a weekly seafood cargo flight.

The Fredericton International Airport may not be as close to the coastal seafood processing plants as other airports. But it is trying to cut into the seafood cargo business that has been dominated by the airports in Moncton and Halifax.

The Fredericton airport has already landed its first cargo flight, which is being operated by Exp-Air, that will carry lobster from the Maritimes to Europe and Asia.

Leslie Gavin, the director of marketing and business development at the Fredericton International Airport Authority said the cargo plane, which already flies daily to Halifax and Moncton, will now land once a week in Fredericton.

"I can tell you there is an anchor client and there's been a number of other shippers that have already contacted us and expressed interest in using this operation," Gavin said.

The seafood will arrive in Toronto in the afternoon and then head off to its final destinations in Europe and Asia in the evening.

Moncton seeks direct flight overseas

The Fredericton airport's foray into seafood cargo flights may be eating into the business that the Greater Moncton International Airport has been spending years trying to attract.

Rob Robichaud, the president and chief executive officer of the Moncton airport, said he's surprised so many seafood producers are interested in flying out of Fredericton.

He said seafood already goes by air from Moncton to Toronto, but it's expensive.

Robichaud said he's trying to eliminate the seafood cargo's stop in Toronto.

"We have been focused solely on a direct non-stop flight into Europe and Asia so that's going to be our strength," Robichaud said.

While the Moncton airport is hoping to land a direct flight overseas, the company involved in the Fredericton seafood cargo flight said that is not feasible right now.

Danny Olynick, a spokesperson for Exp-Air, said it's still not economical to offer direct flights from the Maritimes.

"It all depends on demand, I think the rates right now from Europe to Canada are very low so it's not feasible really to operate a freighter back and forth because we looked at the option through Halifax and it didn't make sense," Olynick said.

While the two airports may be competing for the same type of cargo business, the officials can agree the addition of Fredericton into the marketplace is good for the province.

Both Robichaud and Gavin say the new service will give seafood shippers another option and they hope more companies will be interested in flying to New Brunswick.