Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday in the Rajya Sabha highlighted the splendid performance exhibited by the air cargo industry through the unprecedented event of COVID. Informing the house, Scindia said that air cargo has grown up to 19 percent despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite a period of insolvency caused by the pandemic, the Indian carriers stood tall because of Atmanirbhar Bharat, Scindia said responding to a query adding that now scheduled operators can fly from all destinations.
Noting that the air cargo business will be doubled in the next few years, he further said that 90 percent of the cargo business is done through the scheduled cargo operators while only 10 percent by the non-scheduled operators. Ninety-eight percent of the cargo is coming from six major cities of the country.
When criticized about revoking permission to foreign non-scheduled cargo services from landing in airports beyond the six metros, Scindia informed the Upper House that out of total cargo business in India, 81 percent is carried by the foreign carriers while the Indian carriers carry 19 percent only and only eight Indian freighters were in this business, but in the last three years, the number of Indian freighters has gone up by three-fold.
Air India has modified its plans for belly cargo and the ‘Passenger to Cargo’ system as 71 percent of the cargo is carried in the belly of the aircraft.
Speaking of the revenue, he informed that the air cargo revenue has gone up from over Rs 1,400 crore to Rs 2,000 crore and is likely to increase fast in the next few years.
Reverting to a question by SAD Member Naresh Gujaral that Indian carriers allegedly refused to pick up cargo at many airports including Delhi, Scindia said that this was not correct that Indian carriers are not taking up the consignments of the exporters. It may be due to some technical issues for a day or two but they are picking up cargoes including that of Indian exporters.
Further Scindia informed that the aviation sector is a job multiplier which creates job opportunities three times more than other sectors. He also informed that since the last six years, 66 new airports have been added, and by 2023-24, we will have 225 airports in the country.