India predicts “huge growth” in cargo

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Nicholas Ionides / Paris

Indian civil aviation minister Praful Patel (pictured) has reiterated that he expects huge growth in the country’s air cargo sector over the next decade after years of almost no expansion.patel
Patel said in an address to airlines at IATA’s annual general meeting in Paris today that he expects “in the next five to 10 years you could see 150 cargo planes at least coming into India”.
There are currently only seven freighter aircraft in India with the country’s only dedicated cargo carrier, Blue Dart Aviation, which operates domestic express freight services on behalf of DHL-owned Blue Dart Express.
However the Government has been trying to convince passenger carriers to add freighter aircraft and several have said they plan to do so, such as state-owned Air India and Indian Airlines, and privately owned Go Air, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and others.
“Cargo has a very important role to play,” says Patel.
“Cargo is one sector in our country which we have completely neglected over the years.”
India’s civil aviation market has been booming over the past two years since the Government eased policies to allow for expansion of both domestic and international passenger services.
Patel says Nagpur, in the centre of the country, is being promoted as a cargo hub. He says: “We will give a lot of incentives to make sure there is a cargo hub for the whole country which will be developed at Nagpur”.