IndiGo plans to start freighter flights to China by end of this month to capitalise on strong demand for inbound cargo.

IndiGo which is India’s largest domestic airline operates three freighters to Sharjah, Myanmar, Vietnam and airports within India.

“We are in the process of applying for permission to Chinese civil aviation authorities. We hope to start the service by end of February,” IndiGo’s Chief commercial officer (Cargo) Mark Sutch said on Wednesday. The airline will have three weekly services connecting Guangzhou to Kolkata and one of them will extend to Mumbai.

Interline partnerships

The airline is looking for interline partnerships with Chinese carriers that will allow it to uplift cargo for destinations within China and East Asia. IndiGo already has interline partnerships with ten foreign airlines and that is helping it to grow volumes on domestic flights.

“Overall we are carrying around 30,000 tonnes of cargo each month. Our revenue is growing 10 per cent on a year-on-year basis. Cargo is now a core business for us” Sutch said on the sidelines of Air Cargo India event in Mumbai on Wednesday.

“We are building our frequencies and destinations and that will help us in doubling freighter fleet utilisation to 8-9 hours a day,” he added.

Sutch said yields on international routes are still below pre pandemic level and those in domestic market remain flat. “Our cargo operations are profitable,” Sutch said. Better product mix and rise in volumes are helping us, he added.