The COVID pandemic has come with a silver lining for the air cargo industry. While the scheduled international flights to and from India remain suspended since March-end, it’s the international cargo movement that has been picking up.
The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) on Wednesday informed that its has handled more cargo in the month of September than same month last year, with international cargo leading the recovery, following a prolonged slump due to the pandemic.
As per report, the cargo traffic at the airport increased by 139% in the first half of this fiscal.
BIAL has become the first metro airport in India to record growth in freight in September 2020, compared to the same period last year.
According to a statement, “BAIL has reconnected 51 domestic destinations, achieving 88% connectivity of the pre-Covid routes. In addition, Vande Bharat Mission and air bubble programmes have enabled (us) to connect with 22 international destinations. With the gradual easing of restrictions, air traffic movement has witnessed an encouraging trend, recovering to 53% of the previous year’s flight movement.”
“In the first two quarters of FY2020-21, between April and September, Bangalore Airport cargo terminals processed 131,603 MT of freight. The cargo processed in September was 32,449 MT, a growth of +0.3%, against the same period last year. September 2020 witnessed a +4.5% growth in international cargo, of which export cargo grew by +7.6%. Meanwhile, domestic cargo is showing a slower recovery at -5.2% lower than the same period in the previous year,” the statement further said.
While perishable cargo has been one of the major growth drivers, the other segments driving growth are readymade garments, engineering goods, pharma and medical supplies.
“Before the pandemic, around 60% of domestic and international freight was being carried in belly space of passenger aircraft and the remainder in freighters. With the reduction in passenger flights due to restrictions, several airlines – both domestic and international – converted aircraft (from passenger to cargo), enabling the availability of a larger amount of cargo capacity. As a result, we saw the growth of cargo aircraft movements by 139% against the previous year,” it added.