Astral Aviation expands presence in India; hires new GSA
Zeal Global, the new GSA, formally took over Astral Aviation's GSA in India on June 1
At the Air Cargo India 2022 event, Sanjeev Gadhia, Founder & CEO of Astral Aviation, spoke about the company's vaccine and pharmaceutical business development and how Indian companies are expressing interest in collaborating with them.
"We've noticed that many pharma businesses in India are interested in collaborating with us in a win-win situation," Gadhia added.
While addressing the Indian pharma sector, Gadhia also noted that they have appointed a new GSA since they would be trying to develop and collaborate with businesses in India.
"In India, we have a new GSA, Zeal Global, who will manage and promote the pharmaceutical products. On June 1, Zeal Global formally took over the company's GSA and will represent Astral Aviation in India," Gadhia added.
The cargo airline company has been transporting covishield vaccine on behalf of UNICEF. In collaboration with Scan Global Logistics, Astral Aviation brought Covid-19 vaccinations from UNICEF Supply Division and World Health Organization (WHO) in its DC9F from Nairobi to Juba, South Sudan in September 2021. The vaccines were transported by Network Aviation Group's B747F from Liege to Nairobi, where they were picked up by Astral Aviation.
"We handle vaccinations in two ways. If the vaccine numbers are limited, we have collaborated with Air India as smaller numbers can fly on Air India or the Dreamliner from Ahmedabad and Delhi to Nairobi, where they will most likely be redistributed throughout the rest of Africa. When the quantities are significant enough, we fly in and collect the vaccines and deliver them at the last mile. I believe it's working extremely well for us right now," said Gadhia.
"Until now, we have not experienced any delays in our vaccine shipment from India. Vaccines of course stay on priority but our focus is also on the pharma products. We are actually encouraging the pharma companies to choose air freight over ocean freight, and I truly believe that air freight has a better value proposition and, of course, a quicker transit time, we will see a significant increase in pharma," said Gadhia.
To strengthen the business in India, Astral Aviation and SpiceXpress, Spicejet's cargo subsidiary in India, signed an interline agreement to increase cargo traffic between the Indian subcontinent and Africa by providing more cheap avenues for transferring commodities such as general cargo, courier, and medicines over the networks of the two airlines.