Direct AI flight to Birmingham
A transhipment hub in the making
On August 1 this year, Birmingham Airport will receive Air India’s flight, flying from Delhi Airport. The airline will operate four direct flights a week, using the new Boeing 787-800 ‘Dreamliner’ aircraft, on every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Uday Dholakia, Brand Ambassador for Asian Markets, Birmingham Airport highlights the significance of the new services from cargo operation’s point of view…
Statistics shows that around 68 per cent of perishables landing in the UK and Europe for the British Asian markets end up in the Midlands and the North of England. In addition, the major supermarket and multiple distribution centres are within an hour’s drive from the airport. The westward traffic of cargo and parcels is fuelled by the supply chains around; food and drink, high-end consumables, pharmaceuticals, robotics and automotive for the Indian sub-continent and the Far East.
Commenting on the new services of Air India to Birmingham Airport, he maintained that Air India cargo team had studied the potential of Birmingham over the last three years. They found out that there is a huge scope for offering value-for-money, and the shortened delivery times to end users is favourable, compared to landing cargo at air-hubs on mainland Europe and Heathrow, and then moving them across to the Midlands by trucks. “Added to this, Birmingham is working with all the regulators to provide a single point clearance with deployment of e-freight,” Dholakia said.
Birmingham is well served by M6 and M1 motorways. The British government has already invested in extending the road provision around the airport, which also supports the expansion of the nearby Jaguar Land Rover plant.
Uday Dholakia brand ambassador for asian markets, birmingham airport
Commenting on the possibilities of cargo traffic between Delhi and Birmingham he informed that imports to Birmingham will be fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, pharmaceuticals, high-value gold, silver and diamonds, automotive parts and just-in-time supply of high-end casting and value-added engineering. Additionally, there has been an exponential rise in e-commerce based supply of fashion and jewellery products, primarily aimed at the wedding markets, but increasingly for daily consumption as well.
In terms of exports from Birmingham, there will be processed food and drink for supermarket supplier-chains, luxury hotels, restaurants and e-commerce based high-end niche markets for gourmet food and drink. Automotive, robotic and highend engineering parts and just-in-time electronic and electrical components for cars and machinery will also be exported from Birmingham. “The demand for Britishmade and processed food and drink is growing exponentially; based on innovation, marketing and world-class quality driven by a robust regulatory framework,” Dholakia pointed out.
According to him, Birmingham Airport is all set to fulfil the demand from the airlines. The airport is extending its runway, which will be ready by spring of 2014, thus enabling wider-body aircraft and pure freighters to land and take off. Apart from the extension of the runway, the airport has just published its strategy to develop some 200 acres facilities to support port-centric activities. “Birmingham is well served by M6 and M1 motorway networks. Added to this, there is an opportunity for high-speed rail links to London. The British government has already invested in extending the road provision around the airport, which also supports the expansion of Jaguar Land Rover plant situated within the proximity of the airport,” Dholakia pointed out. He also highlighted that, Birmingham is ideally located at the centre of England, UK’s manufacturing heartland. “With connectivity increasing to Turkey, the Middle East, rest of Europe and the USA, the core ingredients for a European passenger and cargo hub are present and are been actively developed,” he emphasised.