Deccan launches Indias first cargo airline

DECCAN 360, India’s first all-cargo airline, was launched on 20 May flying an A310 from Delhi to Hong Kong. Two more A310s are scheduled to start flying soon, as are six ATR 42s by September.

The owner, GR Gopinath, said he started the cargo carrier due to his frustrations when he was at Air Deccan: “The logistics supply chain would often make us lose valuable time and money. It took me seven days to move [an] engine, first from Delhi to Singapore and from there to Kolkata (Calcutta). I thought, why not start my own logistics company? After all, vision is the art of seeing the impossible.”

With India only having seven cargo planes serving the entire country, compared to China’s 100, Gopinath says that India’s logistics industry is being severely restricted from developing its potential. “For a country of over a billion people, the possibilities are endless for anyone with optimism and energy.” He added that, “India needs 100 cargo planes over the next 10 years.”

Deccan 360 will connect Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai with domestic markets and with Hong Kong and Dubai.

Naseem Zaidi, India’s director general of civil aviation, said that government proposals are being developed that will open up the air cargo industry in India. “Time is the essence in this sector, be it in customs clearance, modern forwarding systems or storage of vaccines, vegetables or other perishables.”

M Madhavan Nambiar, the government’s aviation secretary, said the government was glad that entrepreneurs like Gopinath were getting involved in the industry. “The government will give a hand to this huge market. We would like to work closely with such entrepreneurs with regard to policies and regulation in this sector. It would help all stakeholders.”

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