INDIA & MIDDLE EAST: Jet Air puts cargo airline plan on the backburner

Jet Airways has shelved its idea of starting a dedicated maindeck cargo division, with the carrier instead continuing to concentrate on increasing its cargo uplift through the belly space of its passenger aircraft, a senior company official said. “We do not foresee the plan for full freighter airline taking off in the near future,” Jet […]


Jet Airways has shelved its idea of starting a dedicated maindeck cargo division, with the carrier instead continuing to concentrate on increasing its cargo uplift through the belly space of its passenger aircraft, a senior company official said. “We do not foresee the plan for full freighter airline taking off in the near future,” Jet Airways vice president ¡ª Cargo, Jay B. Shelat, told Business Line.

In the last few years, the airline had expressed its intention to start a cargo airline and had wanted to invest around US$8-9 million in the venture as an initial sum. There were also media reports suggesting that Jet was in talks with German carrier Lufthansa and then later on with the US-based FedEx to begin cargo operations. “Any successful freighter venture would require a good integration system of the first mile and last mile connectivity and at this point in time, getting that matrix is difficult. The infrastructure in the country is another deterrent,” said Shelat on the hurdles to such a move. Cargo volumes have been growing the carrier however, a result of the expanding domestic network alongside with the growing international routes, including Milan, Italy and Johannesburg, South Africa. “In FY2011 Jet’s cargo revenues are expected to touch $250 million which is up from $180 million recorded in FY2009. We are targeting $280-290 million in revenues for FY2012,” Shelat said. At present, cargo contributes between 8 and 8.5 per cent to the overall revenues of Jet Airways, he said. Of this, cargo moved within the domestic market contributes 50 per cent, while the remaining 50 per cent is from movement to international markets, and international-India-international routes. In terms of volumes, the company carries 400 tonnes of cargo a day, of which 150 tonnes are domestic and 250 tonnes, international. The carrier has also recently introduced a new product called JetCargo Plus ¡ª an express, airport-toairport cargo delivery service. “It is a premium service expected to get fully operational in the next 3-4 months. We expect 10 per cent of our cargo uplifts will be through this product,” he said according to the Business Line report.