INDIA: Air India delays freighter launch

India’s state-owned national carrier, Air India, has decided to delay the resumption of its freighter operations until this month. The airline had earlier said that it would launch freighter services to the Gulf and European destinations from 15 June. Air India will launch its freighter services with two freighter conversions of its A310 passenger aircraft, […]


India’s state-owned national carrier, Air India, has decided to delay the resumption of its freighter operations until this month. The airline had earlier said that it would launch freighter services to the Gulf and European destinations from 15 June.

Air India will launch its freighter services with two freighter conversions of its A310 passenger aircraft, while EADS has been contracted to convert four more A310s.

An initial service will link Dammam, Paris and Frankfurt with more destinations to be added as the number of aircraft increases. Mumbai has been selected as the hub for widebody freighters and Nagpur for the carrier’s B737s.

Until 1996, Air India operated a dedicated cargo service to the US, but suspended it for operational reasons. No Indian airline currently offers dedicated freighters, but foreign-owned operators such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, Lufthansa Cargo, Sri Lankan Cargo and Cathay Pacifi c are actively involved in the Indian cargo market.