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Air India eyes 300% growth in cargo capacity in 5 years

Air India is gearing up to play a key role in boosting the freight and cargo ecosystem in India and globally. Initiatives taken in recent times will not only enhance the role of Air India as a major cargo carrier, but also bolster the country’s cargo ecosystem and contribute to the development of an efficient air cargo supply chain accelerating exports from India.

The belly capacity of the Air India fleet will grow significantly over the next few years, with the addition of new wide-body aircraft to its fleet this year and with most aircraft on firm order set to arrive from 2025, complementing India’s manufacturing and export growth. This will have a cascading effect in generating greater employment prospects and boosting various business sectors, while supporting the economy.

The firm orders comprising wide-body aircraft of 34 A350-1000, six A350-900, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and 10 Boeing 777X wide-body aircraft will increase Air India’s annual cargo capacity by a staggering 300% to 2 million tonnes over the next five years with non-stop connection to key export markets globally.

Air India CEO and MD, Campbell Wilson, said, “At Air India, we see a huge potential in the air cargo industry, which the Indian Government plans to grow to 10 million tonnes by 2030. Our cargo division is implementing a series of strategic measures aimed at fostering growth and strengthening our market presence. The large passenger belly capacity addition will be augmented with the launch of value-added products and services across the network.”

Latest IT solutions are being integrated to strengthen the use of technology, including blockchain, AI, and drones to optimize productivity. Short-term changes haven been devised in the existing IT Cargo System to enhance efficiency in areas like electronic data interchange, seamless connectivity with trade partners, and real-time updates on flight and shipment status. These advancements will help Air India to deliver a wide range of services with global capabilities viz. pharma logistics, door-to-door logistics with global partners, e-commerce, carriage of valuables, pets, cold chain for perishables, mail, trans-shipment with connection windows, etc.

Air India, in collaboration with its joint venture partner SATS, is committed to investing substantial capital expenditure for developing airport and logistics infrastructure. The airline is also exploring possibilities of augmenting freighter capacity in collaboration with partners.

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