The amendment to the Open Sky Policy for foreign cargo carriers has led to Air cargo agents and exporters raising valid concerns over the move.
As per the DGCA circular, operations of foreign ad hoc and pure non- scheduled freighter charter service have been restricted to just six airports in the country – with none of the state’s airports figuring in the list. This has led to concerns over the possible impact on the exports from the state.
Exporters believe that the impact of the amendment in this regard will be felt more strongly now. This is due to the fact that after the Covid-19 lockdown, which witnessed cancellations of scheduled international passenger flights, foreign cargo freighters of Emirates and Qatar Airways were operating from Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports.
They transported significant quantities of mostly perishables to the Middle East, Europe, Canada, the US and East Asian destinations.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Chairman of Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI) ,Kerala region Mr K Suresh Kumar voiced that if the freighter operations of the two carriers are not permitted as a special case, export activities from Kerala will be jeopardised, leading to loss of a sizable amount of foreign exchange for the country.
In addition to this, various trade and business bodies in Kozhikode called for permitting operations of foreign cargo carriers from Calicut airport as well.
According to the circular issued by DGCA in September, operations of foreign ad hoc and pure non-scheduled freighter charter service flights will to be restricted to six airports, namely Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Mumbai.