Traders exporting jasmine through Chennai, Tiruchi airports

Traders, industrialists and trade bodies, who had been expecting that the long-awaited cargo operations at Madurai airport would start by the end of March, will now have to wait for some more time.

On Sunday, Airport Director K Sangiah Pandian told The Hindu that the process of obtaining custodianship facilities was on.

However, he refused to give a tentative time frame for the cargo lifting facility to become operational.

“Officials visited the airport recently and asked us to work on the minimum requirements. We will also obtain plant quarantine facility,” he said.

The plant quarantine facility is essential for export of perishable commodities such as flowers and vegetables. Now, traders from the city are exporting jasmine and vegetables through Chennai and Tiruchi airports.

“As of now, more than 100 tonnes of vegetables are being exported from Tiruchi airport to Sri Lanka every month. If the cargo operation facilities at Madurai airport become functional, at least 40 per cent of the export quantity could be diverted here,” said N. Sriram, Director and CEO of Balika Tours and Travels.

On a daily basis

N. Jegatheesan, president of Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said several tonnes of jasmine was being exported from the Chennai airport to the United Arab Emirates on a daily basis, and to the United States of America and Canada three times a week.

“There are exporters in Madurai who export six to eight tonnes of vegetables from Coimbatore every day. If the facility becomes functional in the city airport, more than two tonnes of vegetables would be exported from here to Dubai every day. I am waiting to export one tonne of jasmine to Dubai the day the cargo lifting operations start,” Mr. Jegatheesan added.

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