Cargo volumes at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru is gathering momentum with international cargo leading the recovery, following a prolonged slump due to the pandemic.
Compared to the same period last year, the resurgence in cargo movement powered BLR Airport to become the first metro airport in India to record growth in freight in September 2020.
Improved connectivity and increase in Passenger to Cargo aircraft combined with proactive measures by Bangalore International Airport Limited to enable seamless processing to have pushed cargo volumes into positive territory.
In the first two quarters of FY 2020-21, between April and September, BLR Airport cargo terminals processed 131,603 MT of freight. The cargo processed in September was 32,449 MT, a growth of +0.3%, against the same period last year. September 2020 witnessed a +4.5% growth in international cargo, of which export cargo grew by +7.6%. Meanwhile, domestic cargo is showing a slower recovery at -5.2% lower than the same period in the previous year.
According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority website, perishable cargo has been one of the major growth drivers, with BLR Airport having processed 17,212 MT during this period. The Airport accounted for highest exports of perishables among Indian Airports till June 2020.
It also processed 180,745 kgs of pomegranate from April to August 2020, to emerge as the leading Airport for pomegranate exports from India. The other segments driving growth are readymade garments, engineering goods, pharma and medical supplies.
Before the pandemic, around 60% of domestic and international freight was being carried in belly space of passenger aircraft and the remainder in freighters. With the reduction in passenger flights due to restrictions, several airlines – domestic and international converted P2C aircraft are enabling the availability of a larger amount of cargo capacity. As a result, BLR Airport saw the growth of cargo aircraft movements by 139% against the previous year.
While Q2 witnessed a 46% growth in ATMs against Q1, the total tonnage, too, improved by 84%.