India moves to bridge infrastructure gap

Although years behind in its airport and cargo infrastructure investment, the Indian government has taken significant and bold steps to address the problem by both investing itself and freeing up the regulatory environment to allow private companies a far greater role.

At one of the annual Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI) meet three years ago, a top cargo boss from Lufthansa outlined the three important factors that hindered the growth of air cargo in India. He put it simply as: “Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure.”

Today, those words sound prophetic. With the downturn and losses, carriers are no longer wooing passengers. The focus is now on air cargo and the government has, at last, woken up tothe need of enhancing and upgrading air cargo infrastructure. At last, because,for quite some time the governmentseemed to be virtually unaware that aircargo existed.

Waking up, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) decided towards the end of last year to go ahead with a 10-year development plan that would create modern cargo hubs across the country. In addition, the AAI is keen to go through with a national air cargo policy.

Titled Vision 2020, the policy is being prepared by international consultancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which will project a vision for air cargo growth by the year 2020.

The report will take stock of the current status of the industry, the procedures involved in the sector, and be key to laying down the ground rules going forward.