Chennai airport upgradation: Govt may privatise cargo operation

T. E. Raja Simhan | | Updated on: Mar 13, 2018

The Government could give the entire air cargo operation to a private company in the proposed second phase of the Chennai airport modernisation plan, said a senior official of Airport Authority of India (AAI).

“We are open to the idea of outsourcing the entire air cargo operations in the second phase when a new cargo facility is to be built in the old terminal,” said G.K. Chaukiyal, Member (Operations), Airport Authority of India.

Last week, the first phase of the modernised terminal was inaugurated by Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

“We will give the land while the build, own and transfer operator will take care of the construction and operation of the cargo terminal,” he said.

The outsourcing plan has been recommended by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation. “We will look at the report in a couple of weeks. If approved, we will go ahead with the outsourcing plan,” he said. AAI will also review the master plan of the Chennai airport, he said.

The Chennai airport’s capacity is to handle 11 lakh tonnes of cargo per year. However, only one third of it is being utilised, he said.

When his attention was drawn to the availability of only two parking bays for freighters, Chaukiyal said with the introduction of the Automatic Storage and Retrieval System, the Authority plans to have more bays.

G. Raghu Sankar, Chairman, SICCI Shipping and Logistics Committee, said that the AAI recently dedicated both modernised airport terminals at Chennai and Kolkata. This is a great opportunity to showcase their capabilities in terms of attracting passengers and cargo.

As of now, the trade, the industry and users feel that the scope for improvement in the service level is high and that these airports are way off from reaching their potential.

In 2006, an exercise was undertaken by AAI Chennai involving the Chennai Customs House Agents Association, Air Cargo Agents Association of India (southern region) and Board of Airlines Representatives (southern region).

The exercise was to benchmark and fix responsibility with a time frame for each activity commencing from landing of a flight to delivery of cargo. The study distinguished a time frame for passenger and freight operations. This study could be revisited to align with the present day changes and requirement and can be made as a public document, he said.

Published on February 10, 2013
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