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Thursday, December 14, 2000

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Rapid growth in air cargo sector

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, DEC. 13 An expected growth of 12 to 15 per cent in the air cargo sector within a year has prompted the Government to plan for an additional 20 per cent capacity during 1999-2000.

Scheduled international airlines, including British Airways, Swiss Air, KLM, Alitalia, Aeroflot and Lufthansa Cargo will plan additional cargo operations to meet the increased demand after March 2001.

Responding to complaints of overcharging and delays in movement of cargo due to unprecedented growth, the Union Civil Aviation Minister, Mr. Sharad Yadav, asked the Director-General of Civil Aviation, Mr. H.S. Khola to call a meeting with the persons concerned.

Accordingly, Mr. Khola convened a meeting here on Tuesday with the exporters associations, international cargo flight operators and the Airports Authority of India (AAI), at which the Government recognised the need to add up to 20 per cent capacity over and above the capacity available during 1999-2000. This was despite the capacity added on account of the addition of 17,500 seats as a result of revision of bilateral agreements with various countries and also by addition of non-scheduled cargo flights.

The present available capacity is for transportation of 35,000 tonnes of cargo by air.

The DGCA explained the severe aircraft capacity shortage faced by exporters in 1999-2000. Some of them had to pay higher rates to send their goods in time, while a few had to face cancellation of their orders due to delays.

To avoid a repeat situation, cargo operators were advised to plan additional capacity and not increase rates unreasonably.

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