Bengaluru races ahead with 33% cargo growth

Leaving Delhi and Mumbai behind, the Bengaluru International Airport (BIAL), has done remarkably well in the past year and if the latest figures are anything to go by, they show indications of the market rapidly recovering from the slowdown. Manfred Singh reports on India's fastest growing airport.

The airport has a cargo handling capacity of 350,000 tonnes and there was an upswing in 2010 in comparison to 2009: BIAL’s cargo traffic increased 33 per cent to 21,000 tonnes for the full-year 2010, compared to the year before. To add to its credit, FedEx started a freighter service connecting India to Europe while the Capt G R Gopinathled Deccan Cargo added three more destinations from Bengaluru: Coimbatore and Nagpur and Hyderabad. BIAL’s crowning glory came in October 2010, when the airport achieved distinguished honours for excellence in IT adoption in the Travel and Logistics category by India’s most prestigious awards for IT deployment, the NASSCOM & CNBCTV18 IT User Awards 2010. Incidentally, passenger figures were also on a high: the upward growth trend continued from July last year with annual figures touching 11.24 million. Passenger traffic in the last quarter was 3.06 million while on 17 December 2010, the airport handled 38,134 passengers, both figures were the highest ever reported since airport opening in May 2008. The outgoing chief of the airport, Marcel Hungerbuehler (by the time this appears in print, Hungerbuehler would have made way for Hari Marar, former director of operations who has taken over as president of operations), pointed out that the astounding growth in cargo traffic was due to a variety of reasons. “From an industry perspective,” Hungerbuehler told Payload Asia, “imports have also grown tremendously due to a high demand in automobile and engineering industry.” The other major reason for the increase in cargo output was the introduction of a new freighter from FedEx, along with new routes from Deccan 360 and Blue Dart.