Can the Tatas close the loop on freight?
On October 15, 1932, JRD Tata inaugurated civil aviation in India with his historic Karachi-Ahmedabad-Bombay flight in a single-engine aircraft carrying a cargo of mail. On the occasion of its 89th birthday, it is now hoped that the Tata Group, which is on the verge of acquiring Air India, will also enter the air cargo sector and create an air cargo giant “Desi” – a long demand. trade date to counter the dominance of foreign players.
âIndia is totally dependent on foreign airlines for air cargo. We have to build our capacity. For the Tatas, the treasure is untapped opportunities in air freight. They can use one of its many Air Operator Permits (AOP) and create a dedicated cargo airline by converting the required planes from its team, âsaid B Govindarajan, former Air India employee and now COO of Tirwin Management Services, a company based in Chennai. freight consulting and training firm.
Historically, passenger-focused airlines have viewed freight as a secondary source of revenue. SpiceJet, which recently launched its cargo business, is still in its infancy. BlueDart Express only provides domestic capacities but not measurable international freight capacities, he said.
âThe Tatas have PDOs to use and planes to convert for an exclusive large-scale air cargo operation which will certainly help Indian trade and give new meaning to the ‘Make In India’ movement,â Govindarajan added.
âWe need a strong cargo airline because we have open skies for freight but don’t have a lot of an Indian presence. This is a golden opportunity and Tatas can start a desi freight carrier and generate volumes to compete with foreign players, âsaid V Thulasidas, former Chairman and CEO of Air India.
A few years ago, Indian Airlines had considered a freight implementation by transforming part of the old 737-200s and operating mainly on behalf of the Post Office, and mainly in the Northeast. It was an attempt they made, he added.
Afzal Malbarwala, president of the Air Cargo Agents Association of India, said that today, foreign players dominate the market by bringing in their own cargo ships. Indian exports are booming. The Tatas have so many wide-body planes from Air India and others, converting some of them to freighters will be much better. The dominance of foreign carriers will decrease, he added.
A better position to negotiate
You can import shipments from Europe to India at 15-20 pence per kg. But from India they want a minimum of 300 per kg, said Malbarwala. âThey are trying to cover the cost of India by teasing our market. We have no choice. With a desi carrier, the trade will be in a better position to negotiate both space and freight and cost accordingly for both routes, âhe added.