INDIA: Air India may resume freighter service

Air India is likely to re-launchfreighter service around June thisyear with two converted A310s. Theairline plans to tap Paris-Frankfurtand Shanghai-Bangkok via Mumbaiand Bangalore respectively. The airlinehalted its loss-making freighter servicein the mid-90s. With the resumption of a dedicatedfreighter service, (with a 38.5-tonnepayload) the airline now wants to be aserious player in the segment, aimingat trebling […]


Air India is likely to re-launchfreighter service around June thisyear with two converted A310s. Theairline plans to tap Paris-Frankfurtand Shanghai-Bangkok via Mumbaiand Bangalore respectively. The airlinehalted its loss-making freighter servicein the mid-90s.

With the resumption of a dedicatedfreighter service, (with a 38.5-tonnepayload) the airline now wants to be aserious player in the segment, aimingat trebling its 10 percent market sharein the coming years, according to itschairman and managing director V.Thulasidas.

Two of its older A310 passenger planes were flown to Dresden last month for conversion into freighter aircraft. "This is the first step Air India is taking to become a serious cargo player. We have plans to convert more of our older aircraft as freighters as we induct a new fleet. We are also looking at acquiring more aircraft on lease," Thulasidas said.

An internal group is also studyingthe viability and the timeframe of converting two B747 combi aircraft intofull-fledged cargo carriers.

Also being considered is the leaseof either a couple of B747-400s or fiveB737-200s. All this would be in additionto the belly space for cargo in thenew fleet.