Cathay Pacific Cargo to increase flights on Indian routes

Debabrata Das Mumbai | Updated on June 02, 2011 Published on June 02, 2011


Plans to introduce new Boeing 747-800s freighters in India in the long term

With a bullish outlook on the Indian market, Cathay Pacific Cargo is set to increase the number of departures from the country with its focus on Chennai and Bangalore. The airline is expected to make an announcement in the next week.

“We are restructuring quite a few of our routes and certainly from India the departures will grow. We are looking at Chennai and Bangalore to increase the departures and a decision will be finalised by the next week,” said Mr Ashish Kapur, Regional Manager – Cargo, Cathay Pacific Cargo.

Cathay Pacific Cargo currently has 26 departures from the country. It carried about 50-60,000 tonnes of cargo in 2010 and a bulk of them were carried in the freighters Cathay Pacific plies on the Indian routes.

The cargo airline is also likely to start receiving deliveries of 10 Boeing 747-800 freighters from August and some of these might be deployed on the Indian routes.

“Immediately the new aircraft will be deployed on the North American routes but as we re-align the fleet on different routes I think some of the 747-800s will come to India. It also depends on the infrastructure. I think the Delhi airport will be able to handle it,” added Mr Kapur.

Market potential

Commenting on the potential of the Indian market for air cargo, he said, “From Cathay's perspective the import and export is very well balanced. There's a difference of about 8-9 per cent between what we carry into India and what we carry out. So this helps us utilise the aircraft fully. If some of the infrastructure issues get sorted out then air cargo definitely has a potential to do very well in India.”

infrastructure hurdles

Mr Kapur, though, did voice some concerns about the existing infrastructure in the country being a challenge for the growth of the air cargo business. “Infrastructure is the biggest challenge. In Delhi, for example, it takes 5-6 days for a truck to reach the cargo warehouse and a further 2-3 days for processing. This kills the time advantage of air cargo over shipped cargo,” he said.

He added that custom facilities need to grow and there should be more bonded warehouses to aid the growth of air cargo.

Cathay Pacific Cargo flies out garments, machinery, leather, pharmaceuticals and automotive products from the country while it brings in electronics, telephones and electrical components.

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Published on June 02, 2011
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