The coronavirus pandemic has changed the entire dynamics of the air cargo industry which has taken a fall in terms of traffic handled, expressed CEO of AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company (AAICLAS) Keku B Gazder.
Mr Gazder underlined that during the period April to June 2020, domestic air freight traffic had come down by 74 per cent while international air freight traffic reduced by 57 per cent in comparison to the same period last year.
“The pandemic changed the whole scenario of air cargo industry doing its business. Apart from dedicated freighters and belly of passenger aircraft, the space inside the cabin including seats and overhead storage bins were used for transporting perishable cargo mostly fruits and vegetables.”~ Keku B Gazder, CEO of AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company (AAICLAS)
He believes that the impact of the pandemic on the industry has been felt globally.
“However, its the air cargo industry which continued round-the-clock to keep the cargo flying since the beginning of the nationwide lockdown”, he said.
Gazder also noted that the air cargo industry has been victorious in meeting the demand from the Middle East for perishables and, medicines and equipment from South East and China.
He stated that under the government mooted ”Krishi Udaan” programme, around 43,000 metric tonne of perishable cargo was handled under lockdown conditions.
“However, the most significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air cargo industry has been that it has brought all the stakeholders like government, airports, airlines, cargo terminal operators, freight forwarders or truckers, exporters, and importers on the same plane and all of them have successfully collaborated to keep the industry moving during the pandemic”, he said.
Operations of AAICLAS were also heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.
Gazder however, said that the crisis has in a way, helped Indian air cargo industry to mature. He believed that this maturity will be seen in the days and years to come.