The COVID-19 pandemic has
changed the entire dynamics of the air cargo industry which has taken a beating in terms of traffic handled, CEO of AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company (AAICLAS) Ketu B Gazder said.
He said that during the period April to June 2020, domestic air freight traffic has reduced by 74 per cent while international air freight traffic by 57 per cent as compared to the same period last year.
"The pandemic changed the whole scenario of air cargo industry doing its business. Apart from dedicated freighters and belly of passenger aircraft, the space inside the cabin including seats and overhead storage bins were used for transporting perishable cargo mostly fruits and vegetables", Gazder told PTI.
Domestic freight traffic reduced by 74 per cent and international freight traffic by 57 per cent for the period April to June, 2020 vis--vis the same period last year due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
According to him, the pandemic has impacted the industry globally. "However, its the air cargo industry which continued round-the-clock to keep the cargo flying since the beginning of the nationwide lockdown", he said.
Air cargo industry has successfully met demand from the Middle East for perishables and, medicines and equipment from South East and China, Gazder said.
Under the government mooted 'Krishi Udaan' programme, around 43,000 metric tonne of perishable cargo was handled under lockdown conditions, he stated.
"However, the most significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air cargo industry has been that it has brought all the stakeholders like government, airports, airlines, cargo terminal operators, freight forwarders or truckers, exporters, and importers on the same plane and all of them have successfully collaborated to keep the industry moving during the pandemic", he said.
Gazder said the crisis has helped Indian air cargo industry to mature and hope this maturity will be seen in the days and years to come.
Operations of AAICLAS were also heavily impacted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
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