As Air India adds capacity to its fleet, it is eyeing at a 300 per cent increase in the cargo segment over the next five years.
This expansion will be facilitated by the addition of new wide-body aircraft to its fleet, with several aircraft on firm order scheduled to arrive in 2025. The enhanced capacity will complement India’s booming manufacturing and export sectors, and subsequently, contribute to the overall economic growth of the nation.
Air India’s ambitious firm orders include 34 A350-1000, six A350-900, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and 10 Boeing 777X wide-body aircraft. With the arrival of these aircraft, the airline’s annual cargo capacity will reach 2 million tonnes, empowering Air India to establish non-stop connections to key export markets across the globe.
Campbell Wilson, the CEO and MD of Air India, expressed the company’s enthusiasm for the air cargo industry, which the Indian government aims to expand to 10 million tonnes by 2030. The airline’s cargo division has already initiated a series of strategic measures to foster growth and strengthen its market presence.
Alongside the belly capacity addition, Air India plans to introduce value-added products and services throughout its network, including specialised services for pharma logistics, door-to-door logistics, e-commerce, valuable cargo, pets, cold chain for perishables, mail, and trans-shipment services.
To ensure efficiency and competitiveness, Air India is making significant strides in adopting cutting-edge technology. The integration of blockchain, AI, and drones will optimise productivity and facilitate seamless connectivity with trade partners, offering real-time updates on flight and shipment statuses.
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Moreover, the airline is investing in infrastructure, collaborating with its joint venture partner SATS to develop airport and logistics infrastructure. Air India also seeks to expand its domestic network, catering to the increasing demand from Tier-2 and Tier-3 markets in India.
To strengthen its global reach, Air India is forging strategic partnerships and collaborations. By enhancing interline partnerships and trucking network connections, the airline aims to boost exports. Presently, Air India services cargo transportation to more than 40 international and 38 domestic destinations, and it has partnered with offline trucking points worldwide to further expand its base. The airline is also working closely with service providers at key Indian airports, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, to streamline trans-shipment efficiency and volume at these vital global hubs.
With increased capacity, advanced technology, and a diverse array of services, Air India is positioning itself on a global stage.