AAI looks to increase revenue from cargo
The new Chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI), Ravindra Kumar Srivastava is focusing on two key aspects: one, contemplating a strategy to boost revenues from cargo business and hit the commercial potential of its assets and two, working on measures for expenditure control. For boosting revenue from cargo business the chairman is of the view that the available assets within the organisation and those at the terminal and city-side areas of airports should be exploited commercially. Talking on measures for expenditure control Srivastava said, "Each of us needs to take measures for expenditure control, wherever possible, to make effort for introduction of technology driven system particularly in the security apparatus.” In fact, Srivastava spelt out his vision for AAI at the very first meeting of his key officials immediately after taking over the reins at AAI. India’s remarkable growth in international and domestic trade over past few years has augured well for the Indian air cargo industry. India’s air cargo business will generate more revenue with augment of infrastructure through advanced automation, more number of screening machines, and better securities. Enhancing airport infrastructure in India would require upgrading of existing airport infrastructure in both metro and non-metro cities so as to fill the space between the present airport capacity and the anticipated demand. Development of selected 35 non-metro airports was undertaken and projects at 32 airports have already been completed by AAI. AAI also completed expansion and upgradation of two metro airports at Kolkata and Chennai at the cost of Rs 2324 crore and Rs 2015 crore respectively. After the upgradation of Chennai airport, the annual cargo handling capacity and efficiency of operations increased to 11 lakh tonnes of cargo. AAI is also to set up a new domestic and international cargo complex at the Pune airport. Through a private agency it will also begin domestic air cargo operations at Mangalore International Airport from April this year. Apart from this, an air freight station near the Chennai airport by Hyderabad Menzies Air Cargo was opened recently. Besides, to foster export and generate revenue from the air cargo sector the government of India under the Ministry of Civil Aviaton has recently updated policy guidelines for setting up of air freight stations. According to the new policy guidelines all export and import cargo clearances including custom related activities like assessment, examination, and payment of duties would be provided at the AFS. According to a recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast India is the second fastest growing air cargo market after the Middle East and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of about seven percent over the next five years. India, according to IATA’s Industry Forecast 2014-2018, would also be among the ten largest international freight markets by 2018 led by the US and followed by China.