India limits non-scheduled freighter flights to six airports

By Damian Brett

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India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has limited non-scheduled and ad hoc cargo flights by foreign carriers to six airports.

The change in country’s open sky policy was made following a government review and it is hoped the move will promote India’s airfreight carriers.

“The changes have been made with a view to ensure fair and equal opportunity in the air cargo capacity offered by Indian registered airlines and airlines registered elsewhere,” a circular from the Ministry of Civil Aviation read.

As per the revised policy, the operation of foreign ad hoc and pure non-scheduled freighter charter service flights have been restricted to operate at six airports; Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

According to the Hindu news service, Cochin International Airport has warned that the move will curtail exports — in particular perishables — from the airport as most of the cargo flights from the airport were carried out by foreign airlines, particularly from the Middle East.

There are no airports in the state of Kerala now able to handle cargo charters from foreign airlines.

During the lockdown period (March-June) Cochin International Airport handled 8,996.6 tonnes of cargo; with the daily average of international exports alone during the March-June period 70.1 tonnes.

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