Emirates SkyCargo is evaluating plans to add three destinations in India by June to capitalise on growing trade opportunities in the country. 

The Dubai-based airline operates 167 weekly passenger flights to nine cities and eight freighter flights to three cities (Ahmedabad, Chennai and Mumbai) in India offering capacity of 4,000 tonnes each week.

“We are looking forward to operate scheduled freighter flights to three additional cities in India. The plan is under consideration. We are hoping to start the service by June,” Emirates SkyCargo’s divisional senior vice president Nabil Sultan said on Thursday.

Sultan said the airline’s cargo business in India is witnessing a strong uptick due to significant new investments in manufacturing sector especially in mobile phones, electronics and consumer goods. Pharmaceuticals is another growth area and the airline uplifts large volumes from India for Europe and the US. The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between India and UAE has given its business a further boost. “Closeness of India and UAE is incredible,” Sultan asserted.

India is among top five markets for Emirates cargo business accounting for around eight per cent of its overall freight volume. The airline flew over 1.8 million tonnes of cargo between January-December 2023 registering over 7 per cent year-on-year growth.

Freight loads on flights from India range from 90-100 per cent while those to India range between 50-60 per cent. Freight loads to India tend to be lower due to trade imbalances — a trend the airline sees in other countries in East and South East Asia.

Sultan said the ongoing geopolitical tensions are also contributing to growth in its cargo volumes. “We launched a sea-air product two years ago. We are able to deliver shipments in 12-14 days with cargoes being shipped to Dubai and then flown by us to Europe or the US,” Sultan said.