Speaking at a seminar organised by Foundation for Aviation Sustainable Tourism (FAST), V K Singh said air cargo plays a pivotal role in the economy of a nation. The nation can leverage this advantage by making efforts to achieve the air cargo target. However, he lamented that we have focused more on passenger traffic than air cargo.
“We could have become an air hub for Central Asia 10 years back, but we kept waiting and Turkish airlines took it from us. The change in air cargo will come by both government and industry approach together,” the MoS for Civil Aviation said.
He further said, “Today by adopting technology everything can be simplified but our mental blocks have to go. The whole paperwork should go and it should be tech based. From the warehouse, the whole chain should start, all permissions should be on tech and not paper. There is a need for much faster clearance for perishable cargo.”
Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana Dushyant Chautala, said, “We saw in Covid times how critical role cargo played when we could send medicines and vaccinations in real time, which was not possible via waterways. We foresee India becoming a big player in the cargo industry.
The beauty of air cargo is that you can order a pen from one corner of the nation and it gets delivered by the evening in another corner.”
Senior Economic Advisor, Ministry of Civil Aviation Piyush Srivastava said, “We need to have a manufacturing base of aircrafts and aircraft components, leasing capability in the country, and the role of drones in the cargo industry is only said to expand exponentially. The biggest challenge is that we have been late mover in the race and we need to reach to the heart of the race quickly.
Even our consumers have developed plasticity in their demand. We can begin with having supportive infrastructure. PM Gati Shakti, which is the National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity, is at the heart of infrastructure development.”
In his keynote address, Yashpal Sharma, President ACFI and MD, Skyways Group, said, “The role of logistics was always there, but after covid everyone has got to know how important role logistics plays. In the last 100 years there has been a huge growth in the country’s GDP and a major reason for this is the role played by the airline industry and especially cargo.”
He pointed out that India stood at 3.14 million tonnes last year in cargo, which means we are behind even some individual airports of some countries, but it also signifies how great potential we have here.
This signifies that we have a huge opportunity in cargo. When we look at wealthiest cities in the last 2000 years, they were cities located on ports where movement of goods was easy and similarly in the last 3 decades the major growing cities are those having big airports because it is where robust business can stand. It improves the supply chain. We are planning for 10 million tons of cargo which is more than Hong Kong airport, it includes 1/3rd in domestic, 1/3rd in imports and 1/3rd in exports.