‘Indian airports setting an example’
Airports Authority of India plans to invest 25,000 crores (US$ 3.58 billion) in the next five years to augment facilities and infrastructure at airports
Relegated to the shadows of passenger traffic, the pandemic set the stage for air cargo to grow into the ascendant. With passenger flight nose-diving suddenly, international airports in India are rapidly expanding their cargo capacity while creating dedicated infrastructure for special cargo categories. Amar More, CEO, Kale Logistics Solutions shares more.
How are the Indian airports setting an example for the world in terms of digitisation?
India is expected to become the world’s third-largest aviation market by 2024. Cargo has proven itself to be a key revenue generator for Indian aviation industry in the chaos and duress of a global pandemic, and now the stage is set for air cargo to grow into the ascendant industry of India’s globalised future. Prior to COVID-19, Indian aviation frequently landed in the headlines for the rapid expansion of its passenger base—and for good reason. The Indian market regularly achieved double-digit passenger growth. In fact, between 2009 and 2019 passenger airlines in India logged a whopping 12 per cent CAGR. The cargo market had long been relegated to its shadow, despite achieving a respectable eight per cent growth rate for the same tenyear period. However, with the pandemic disrupting the growth trajectory of the passenger markets (e.g., Indian passenger volumes fell by nearly 70 per cent in 2020), the aviation sector had to refocus their business models in order to remain viable. It seems clear that cargo’s moment in the market spotlight has finally arrived.
International airports in India are rapidly expanding their cargo capacity while creating dedicated infrastructure for special cargo categories. While Delhi Airport has set up India’s first dedicated Transhipment Excellence Centre (TEC) to provide seamless and efficient transhipment services, Bengaluru Airport has created additional digital infrastructure to handle demand and position itself as the cargo hub of South India. Mumbai International Airport has laid the foundation to digitisation more than a decade ago with its Cargo Community System AMAX (Adani MIAL Air Exchange) the erstwhile GMAX. AMAX completely digitised the exports and imports at the Mumbai Airport thereby reducing cargo dwell time by 80 per cent and paper documents to one-fourth. With complete data accuracy and trade visibility these airports are able to attract more cargo to transform themselves as cargo hubs.
AAI (Airports Authority of India) plans to invest 25,000 crores (US$ 3.58 billion) in the next five years to augment facilities and infrastructure at airports. It has opened the airport sector to private participation as six airports across major cities are being developed under the PPP (public private partnership) model. This is paving the way for great digitisation in the sector with the right investments.
How can digitalisation help in addressing the issue of congestion at the airports?
Truck congestion at cargo complexes in airports is a global issue and it is expected to increase as the demand for air cargo increases. Pre-arrival information, advanced planning, and collaboration are possible applications to ease these complexities, but these are just not enough. The world is in dire need of truck slot management and airport cargo community systems, which is why many such systems are making their way into the market. They are artificial intelligence-based tools that allow ground handlers, freight forwarders, and trucking companies to better coordinate their landside freight management. It eventually helps them reduce waiting times and smoothen peaks and idle times. This truck slot management system/cargo community system will help the airports significantly enhance their throughput with the existing infrastructure.