Air India Cargo goes solo

AIR India is to split off its cargo unit into an autonomous business. From April the new company will independently operate its four A310 freighters and six Boeing 737s from its cargo hub at Nagpur.“We expect [an] increase in our business after the cargo unit of Air India is hived off from [Air India],” said Anita Khurana, director of cargo.The airline’s freight services currently only add up to eight per cent of the company’s total revenue. Air India recently suspended its freight services to Europe and Japan due to the global drop in demand. Other operators moved into the vacuum, notably GR Gopinath, and so Air India believes it can regain lost market share with an aggressive marketing campaign. Its resumed services will include to Japan and other European destinations, such as those connecting Chennai and Mumbai to Frankfurt.“We are planning to increase the belly capacity of our aircraft and also operate existing freighter aircraft for more number of hours to boost revenue from the cargo business,” Khurana said.Air India is said to be converting passenger 737s to freighters and to replace its two A310 freighters within two to three years.

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