In India, GMR Hyderabad Airport Cargo launched its Hyderabad Cargo Charter Circle (HC3) handling program this month. Airport operator GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL), a subsidiary of GMR Airports Ltd. and a step-down subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure Ltd. (GMR Group), plans to boost cargo charter operations out of Hyderabad Air Cargo Terminal in support of GHIAL’s aims to develop the airport into a South Asian cargo hub. Air cargo charter operations are unusual in India.
HC3 is a membership-based program under which participants receive various benefits, such as additional free cargo storage, priority storage allocation, a single point of contact for all aspects related to cargo handling, end-to-end logistics support within the terminal and 24/7 customer support.
“Cargo charters contribute a small proportion of the volume handled by the Indian airports currently, but as an emerging market, they hold a lot of promise. Realizing this potential, we have launched the HC3 platform, which will act as an industry forum led by Hyderabad International Airport to give the value-added advantage to this segment of the industry and help boost trade and logistics,” according to S.G.K. Kishore, chief executive officer of GHIAL.
These benefits increase the reliability and control customers have over cargo transiting through the airport, according to GHIAL. Ultimately, the program is meant to grow the number of direct regional and international flight connections out of Hyderabad in support of its goal to become a hub for charter air cargo operations.
Recently, the airport has experienced growing demand for cargo charters to support shipments that include pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, telecommunications equipment and defense and aerospace commodities, GHIAL said. The new program will support this demand.
On August 1, the airport added another domestic freighter service to an existing range of air cargo services. The latest operator is SpiceJet, which brings the number of scheduled freighter services out of Hyderabad to six carriers. The cargo arm of SpiceJet has services connecting Hyderabad with Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.
The B737-700F aircraft used by SpiceJet will operate six days every week, connecting Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore sectors. The freighter aircraft has a 20-ton cargo capacity.
The new SpiceJet freighter service also will offer an opportunity for shippers from the region to access the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other markets via Delhi. The offering also includes postal circulation among the key metropolitan areas, saving critical time and ensuring quick delivery of goods.
Apart from SpiceJet, the other scheduled freighter services operating from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) include Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific and Blue Dart. Hyderabad Airport Cargo serves multinational companies across pharmaceutical, perishables, engineering, automobile, aerospace and leather industries. In addition to major cargo hubs in India, international destinations, such as Frankfurt, Istanbul, Dubai, Doha and Hong Kong are also connected from RGIA.
Hyderabad has continued a program to develop world-class facilities for air cargo. In April 2018, GHIAL’s cargo terminal was certified with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Good Storage and Distribution Practices (GSDP). Awarded by SGS India, a major provider of testing, inspection, certification and verification in the pharmaceutical sector, the WHO-GSDP certificate underscores Hyderabad International Airport’s commitment to and compliance with quality management standards and International requirements throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain.
In 2010, Hyderabad International Airport operationalized India’s first airport-based dedicated pharmaceutical handling facility (Pharma Zone), to handle the export of pharmaceutical products. It created a benchmark for dedicated temperature-controlled cargo handling facilities, influencing other airports in India.
Cargo exports from Hyderabad Airport are 60% comprised of pharmaceutical products, with 10% growth in volume over the last five years. Hyderabad Airport Cargo has inducted active and passive cooling storage mechanisms in partnership with Envirotainer and Agility to maintain the Hyderabad Airport Cargo Terminal. It has also inducted a large tunnel X-ray to facilitate the screening of shipper-built units.