TALKS are under way to transform Hyderabad International Airport (HIA) into India’s air cargo hub, the company that runs it reveals.

Vikram Jaisinghani, chief executive officer (CEO) of GMR Hyderabad Airport International (GHIAL), confirms the company is already discussing the plans with airlines and industry insiders.

“World-leading cargo airlines like Thai and Cathay commencing operations is testimony to the world-class facilities and immense potential waiting to be tapped at the airport,” he states.

Lufthansa Cargo operates four freighters a week at HIA – also known as Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) – and Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific have both recently launched freighter services there.

The airport’s cargo terminal is India’s first modular integrated freight facility, which is spread over 14,330m2 and can house more than a billion tonnes a year. Between 2010 and 2011, it handled 80,777 tonnes of cargo.

It also has the country’s only dedicated pharmaceuticals handling zone. “India, and in particular Hyderabad, is fast emerging as an important pharmaceutical manufacturing centre, with 70 per cent of the exports coming from Hyderabad alone,” adds Jaisinghani.

GHIAL is a joint venture, in which the GMR Group holds a 63 per cent stake. The Indian and local Andhra Pradesh state governments both own 13 per cent and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, 11 per cent.

The company has revealed it expects an eight to 10 per cent growth this year.

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