Sichuan Airlines, one of China's major airlines serving 130 destinations across the globe, commenced their freighter aircraft operations from Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, GMR-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) announced on Friday.
This is a significant development as with this routing, businesses in North India will gain faster access to the markets in China, according to an official statement.Sichuan Airlines commenced its freighter services twice a week from China's Shaanxi Province to Delhi and return to Chengdu.
"We are delighted to be chosen as the exclusive cargo transshipment center in India by China's Sichuan Airlines. The airline's commitment and growing confidence will create a long and successful partnership between Sichuan Airlines and Delhi airport. Delhi has emerged as a cargo hub for businesses in North India and neighbouring countries. This new route offered by Sichuan Airlines will give a significant impetus to the air cargo and regional logistics sectors with enhanced connectivity to China," Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO-DIAL said in the statement.Edward Zhou, Freighter Sales Department of Sichuan Airlines Logistics said, "Sichuan Airlines is happy to announce the inauguration of its freighter service from Shaanxi Province to Delhi. This is the first time for us not only to operate our freighter service to India but also to initiate cargo business in the country."
"It is a significant development, especially since we will be operating the A330-200 freighter. The opening of this route will contribute to the development of the trade and transit potential between these two countries. We thank DIAL for their great support and look forward to more cooperation with them in bringing more flights in the future," Zhou said.With three operational runways and nine freighter parking bays, the IGI Airport is India's largest and busiest airport. Three more parking bays will be operationalised soon.
The airport has a cargo handling capacity of over 1.8 million metric tonne (MT) annually, which is scalable to 2.3 million MT. In the fiscal year 2019, the airport reached a new milestone by handling the highest ever cargo of over 1 million MT in India.
Delhi airport has two state-of-the-art integrated cargo terminals to handle air cargo.
To promote IGI Airport as an air cargo hub of the region, DIAL has taken several initiatives, such as operationalisation of 'Transshipment Excellence Centre' at the airside for efficient movement of transshipment cargo, development of Airport Cargo Logistics Centre (ACLC), as on-airport warehousing facility to handle all types of cargo, such as textile, retail, electronics, perishable, pharma, project cargo and livestock.
The airport has a world-class dedicated temperature control facility with a capacity to handle around 1.5 lakh MT perishable and pharma cargo annually to ensure end-to-end temperature-controlled supply chain.
Delhi airport also has the largest airline network connecting 75 international and 69 domestic destinations served by 63 air carriers and 17 freighter airlines.
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