As forwarders warn of capability constraints amid India’s second, and worsening, Covid disaster, low-cost provider IndiGo is the newest airline to enter the freighter market.
IndiGo stated final week it had signed a letter of intent for 2 A321 passenger-to-freighter conversions and is within the technique of sourcing two extra.
It already operates a fleet of greater than 280 plane, largely A320s and A321 neos.
The primary freighter is due for supply within the first half of 2022, and will probably be used on each home and regional routes.
IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta, stated: “CarGo has been a hit story over the previous yr, creating new data, however our perception within the cargo enterprise goes past the particular circumstances proper now.
“IndiGo was the most important provider of cargo in home India earlier than Covid-19, and we anticipate the market to proceed to develop after the pandemic.”
Nevertheless, competing low-cost provider Spicejet additionally claims to be the most important cargo airline in India, following speedy progress final yr through the nation’s first lockdown in March, when passenger flights have been grounded. Operated by cargo-unit SpiceXpress, the airline has 19 cargo plane, together with 5 widebodies.
IndiGo, alternatively, needed to make do with carrying cargo in passenger-cabins, which seems to have whetted the urge for food for full-blown freighter operations, after dealing with round 200,000 tonnes final yr.
Willy Boulter, IndiGo’s chief business officer, advised The Loadstar its worldwide routes could be “a mixture of South-east Asia and Center East, together with Hong Kong and, doubtlessly, South China”.
In the meantime, India’s new Covid-crisis might trigger one other dip in air cargo capability – worldwide airways have begun suspending flights to and from the nation, and home routes additionally face new restrictions.
“Discount of stomach house as passenger flights cut back domestically will have an effect, however we’re assured we are able to fill the hole with cargo-in-cabin charters,” stated Mr Boulter.
The UAE has already moved to droop flights with India for at the very least 10 days, impacting 300 flights every week. One forwarder advised The Loadstar Emirates was planning to droop flights ex-India from yesterday, which might trigger “capability points and fee will increase, particularly with Air India flights additionally cancelled this week”.
And, in accordance with Enterprise In the present day, China’s state-run Sichuan Airways has suspended all its cargo flights to India for 15 days, which has stunned forwarders “frantically making an attempt to acquire oxygen concentrators from China”.
Karthi Baskar, deputy MD of Kintetsu World Specific (India), stated the present state of affairs would imply “one other gradual yr” for India’s airfreight market. He advised The Loadstar: “One other lockdown and second wave will impression manufacturing and decelerate airfreight volumes from July to September. And minimal schedules of airways will imply much less capability and more room constraints, bumping up charges once more.
“As a result of final yr’s impression [from Covid], many of the manufacturing clients in automotive, pharma and retail have improved provide chains and migrated to sea freight, which is one more reason air will probably be gradual this yr.”