AAI eyes cargo segment to boost revenue
MAR 24, 2015: With more and more high-density traffic airports going into the hands of private players, the state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) is now looking at focusing on the cargo segment to boost its revenues. As part of this, AAI plans to optimally utilise its old redundant/un-utilised domestic passenger terminals by converting them into cargo facilities after carrying out the necessary modifications, AAI chairman RK Srivastava told reporters at an industry event . "AAI is venturing into the new area of domestic cargo operations with an objective to create the basic infrastructure at its airports which have potential for air cargo growth," Srivastava said. There has been tremendous growth of air cargo at metro/ non-metro airports with considerable scope for improvement in the basic infrastructure to tap the potential, he said, adding that "domestic cargo grew by 10 per cent and international by five per cent last year". He said AAI has identified 24 domestic airports across five regions, including three civil enclaves, to develop such integrated facilities. AAI is required to explore new avenues for revenue generation to maintain its position as a Mini-Ratna-Category-1 entity and it is also looking to intensify efforts to attain Navratna status, he said. Srivastava, however, did not hazard a guess as to the share of the pie it was expecting to wean away from rail and road transport after the air cargo operations take off. He said that such facilities have already commenced at three airports -- Jaipur, Lucknow and Coimbatore. It would be started within a couple of years at the remaining 21 airports. There are plans to replicate the same model at other airports as well besides the 24 which have been identified going forward, he said. At present, AAI manages international air cargo terminals at the Chennai, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Amritsar, Guwahati, Lucknow, Trichy and Mangalore airports. Besides, domestic cargo handling is carried out at Port Blair, Coimbatore, Lucknow and Jaipur airports besides JVC- managed Air Cargo Complexes at Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Cochin and Nagpur airports. AAI is in the advanced stage for commissioning of international air cargo handling facility at Madurai and Visakahpatnam airports.