The strategic manufacturing and distribution point
The Midlands region has a long standing passenger and cargo connectivity with India, albeit via airports in southern England and mainland Europe. The region has one of the largest Indian diaspora in Europe. Speaking to Cargotalk, Uday K Dholokia, Brand Am
Birmingham region has witnessed a significant growth in the business and academic/student traffic with India. The region houses major distribution centres for all the major supermarkets and multiples, food manufacturing which relies on supplier chain links with India. The cargo currently comes from air cargo hubs from mainland Europe and southern England.
“The rising distribution and environmental costs make a direct connectivity to Birmingham Airport a zero sum game. Added to the perishables, there is a growing bilateral traffic in highend processed foods, pharmaceuticals, automotive and specialised engineering,” Dholokia pointed out. In addition, the region has demonstrable volume of traffic to northern India, in particular, Delhi and Amritsar and connectivity to Gujarat via Mumbai. The region is a natural link/stop over for traffic from Canada, North America and Europe flowing into India and on to the Far East. The biggest growth is seen during wedding seasons, entertainment and religious gatherings, along with courier and cargo supplies feeding these high profile events on a regular basis.
“In the interim, the regular daily connectivity by Emirates and Turkish airlines, the belly hold capacity of the aircraft is a serious value proposition for many forwarding agents and supply chain
The USP for the airport is that it is in the centre of the UK and the heartland of the manufacturing and distribution centres”
Uday K Dholokia
Brand Ambassador-Asian Markets, Birmingham Airport
logistics companies. Added to this, the airport can facilitate access to A300/200 pure freighters and specialist cargo,” he highlighted.
The airport is investing £300 million in a runway extension, and with integrated regulatory base this will offer additional capabilities for wide-bodied belly hold and increased pure freighter business. According to Dholokia, the value proposition for food and drink and automotive supply chain links is already in existence. Added to this, there is a tremendous opportunity for developing E-Freight proposition with port-centric added value propositions around the airport.
“The USP for the airport is that it is in the centre of the UK and the heartland of the manufacturing and distribution centres. It has good motorway connectivity and logistics support. The management team at Birmingham Airport is agile, focussed and entrepreneurially committed to making cargo connectivity with India happen,” emphasised Dholakia. The airport has successfully seen growth of passenger and belly-hold cargo on Emirates and Turkish airlines. “The airport is passionately committed to having direct passenger and cargo connectivity with India, especially the re-establishment of the successful Air India connectivity from Birmingham to north India,” he added.
He shared that the Airport has a clear and focussed business plan to develop further connectivity into north India and Mumbai to feed load factors for the Far East. The airport is keen to partner with specialist cargo and handling companies to develop a modern specialist world-class European hub for cargo.