Bangalore is rapidly transforming itself to become the regional air cargo hub with plans to expand and upgrade its infrastructure and deploy ground handling equipment.
Kempegowda International Airport (KIAB / BLR) Airport has received a facelift and developed itself into a regional hub with the promise of strong growth in air cargo traffic.
The geographically located airport which is spread across 4,000 acres, and has multiple cargo terminals under its umbrella gives easy access to the major manufacturing hubs of South India, making the airport a “preferred gateway” for air cargo in South India.
The presence of two big cargo terminal operators – Air India SATS (AISATS) and Menzies Aviation Bobba Bangalore further adds to the allure of BLR Airport.
“The BLR airports’ current annual cargo capacity is 720,000 metric tonnes (MT) and is expandable to 850,000 MT. We aim to expand the cargo infrastructure to provide a capacity of 1 million MT in the next few years,” Satyaki Raghunath, BIAL’s chief strategy and development officer, explains, pointing out that BLR airport is currently ranked as India’s third cargo-handling airport based on annual cargo handled.
Equipped to handle global competition and sharp rise in air trade
BIAL is on a constant journey of upgrading and expanding its infrastructure to fight the cutthroat global competition and handle the sharp increase in the global air trade.
Currently, the airport’s infrastructure includes two dedicated freighter stands, two modern cargo terminals, round-the-clock operations running on automated systems, a consolidation facility, and India’s first dedicated courier terminal.
The airport’s cargo terminals are well equipped with facilities such as automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), elevated transfer vehicles (ETVs), very narrow aisle trucks (VNAs), high-rise racking systems, lift and run systems for ULD movement, reach stackers with bar code readers and handheld devices, enabling BLR Airport to process all types of cargo.
In addition, the BLR is the first airport in India to be IATA e-freight compliant, and the first and only airport in India to have partners with IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) compliance.
With an airport public bonded warehouse spread across 10,000 square feet, the airport also has four cargo terminals (Blue Dart Express Cargo Terminal, AISATS Coolport, AISATS, and Menzies Aviation Bobba Bangalore).
While the public bonded warehouse will facilitate re-exports, long-term storage of bonded cargo, and value-added services (labeling, packing/re-packing, etc.), the express cargo terminal will ease doing business and reduce transaction time and costs for the shipper by providing a dedicated facility for express courier shipments, according to Raghunath.
BLR is also India’s first airport to have its terminals compliant with ISAGO, besides maintaining a fully operational drug control lab and an animal quarantine for the safe movement of animals.
On the path to technological advancements
Understanding that technology is the key to success in a competitive environment. BLR Airport in recent times has been strengthening its technological prowess.
In June last year, the airport partnered with Kale Logistics to equip itself with Airport Cargo Community System (ACS), a digital platform for quicker processing and reducing duplication of information and streamlining processes.
To enhance its cold chain offering, BLR joined hands with Envirotainer and introduced its new cold chain solution, which ensures the movement of temperature-sensitive cargo worldwide while maintaining the integrity and quality of products throughout the transportation. Furthermore, it introduced an Internet of Things (IoT) based solution to monitor temperature-controlled cargo all set to enable real-time supply chain visibility.
The airport also has a five-acre dedicated truck-parking facility and a road feeder service catchment area connectivity, with its bonded and non-bonded trucking service called LogiConnect from various parts of South India.
By bringing in new technological innovation and upgrading its facility, the airport continues to thrive and moves towards becoming a cargo hub.