Pune: Pune is one of the fastest growing airports in the country in passengers’ movement in 2018-19.
Now, the city’s air freight growth is on an upswing with both domestic and international cargo showing double-digit growth during the April-November, 2018. During this period, Pune has recorded a positive growth of 88.9 per cent in international cargo and 29.2 per cent in domestic cargo movement.
However, the international cargo has shown a steep increase from 18 MT in the same period in 2017 to 34 MT in 2018 while the domestic cargo movement has increased from 27,119 MT in 2017 to 35,043 MT in 2018 for the above period. The encouraging policies adopted by AAI to promote this industry and facilitate it by developing and creating the required infrastructure has greatly supported the growth.
Pune has always been a cargo hub for western Maharashtra. Majority of the cargo originating from this region is being transported within the country by rail and road while the international cargo moves by sea route from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) or by air from Mumbai.
“Primarily goods originating from Pune and its surrounding districts comprises healthcare and pharmaceuticals, vaccines, perishable agri, flori and horti products, defence, automotive, chemicals, consumer durables, electronics & electricals, FMCG, etc. It is estimated that almost 35 per cent of the air cargo moving from Mumbai originates from Pune region,” said Dhairyashil Vandekar, aviation expert and analyst.
The increase in direct flights to new cities, additional frequencies added on the metro routes in demand has facilitated the increase in cargo movement from the airport. Earlier, only SpiceJet was known to be using the international cargo export facility at Pune airport. But with efforts and persuasion by Airports Authority of India (AAI), Air India and Jet Airways are also using it for exporting goods to Dubai and Abu Dhabi and Singapore respectively.
“The volume of international air cargo out of Pune can be understood by the fact that presently the Air Cargo Complex at Dighi is said to be the second largest international air cargo handler in western Maharashtra after the Sahar Air Cargo Complex. With supporting policies of AAI and their sustained efforts to create required facilities and infrastructure for handling air cargo at Pune airport is creating confidence amongst the cargo dispatchers resulting in increased movement of international cargo. With the creation of a modern cargo complex, which is already in the expansion plan of AAI, I have no doubt that Lohegaon airport will be a major cargo hub of Western Maharashtra in the coming times,” he said.