Hyderabad international airport set to become India's first pharma cargo hub

Amit Mitra Hyderabad | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on May 25, 2011

The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad is all set to become India's first pharmaceutical cargo hub, with Lufthansa Cargo today certifying the airport and its dedicated pharma zone facility as one of its key cargo hubs in South Asia for transport of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products.

Lufthansa, which has transported about 1.8 million tonnes of freight last year, operates three freighters to the airport every week, with plans to increase the frequency at a latter date.


The pharma zone is a temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature sensitive pharma products, with Lufthansa stationing its own fleet of cooling containers called Opti-Coolers.

The facility, which became operational in January this year, can provide temperature controlled handling for over 30,000 tonnes of pharma products. It has cooling chambers to manage temperatures from 2-8 degrees to 15-25 degrees.

“In the last three years, temperature-sensitive cargoes reflected a 40 per cent growth year-on-year in Asia, while in India it was about 170 per cent. For us, India is a focus market and a source for cargo. We will be using the facility to help consolidate air cargoes from different destinations here,” Mr Christopher Dehio, Sr Manager (Global Key Accounts) of Lufthansa Cargo, said.

The airline, which has a fleet of 18 freighters, has placed orders for five Boeing 777 freighters.

It airlifts the cargo to Frankfurt and from there the parcels join its global network that connects 300 destinations worldwide.

After breaking even in 2010-11, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, which operates the Rajiv Gandhi international airport, expects to fly into positive territory by notching up some profits this fiscal. Starting operations in March 2008, the airport serviced 7.6 million passengers and handled over 80,000 tonnes of cargo last fiscal, mirroring a 17 per cent and 20 per cent growth over the previous fiscal respectively.

The airport has been designed with an initial capacity of 12 million passengers and 1.5 lakh tonnes of cargo a year, with a flexibility to increase capacity to over 40 million passengers in a phased manner. “While the 20 per cent growth in cargo throughput can be sustained this fiscal, the 17 per cent growth in passenger traffic looks aggressive at this moment, but not unreachable. It will largely depend on how the regional airlines consolidate their operations here,” Mr Vikram Jaisinghani, GHIAL Chief Executive Officer, said.

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Published on May 25, 2011
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