Cargo terminal records highest monthly handling in March

Cargo exports from Tiruchi Airport have registered 44 per cent growth during 2012-13. The cargo terminal has also registered a new high by handling 395 tonnes of international cargo during March, the highest ever for the airport so far. The previous high was 313 tonnes handled in January early this year.

The cargo terminal at the airport has totally handled 2,920 tonnes of cargo during 2012-13 against 2,022 tonnes recorded during the previous financial year.

“The continued growth places Tiruchi International Airport as one of the leading cargo terminals among the non-metro airports under the control of the Airports Authority of India in the country,” said S. Dharmaraj, Airport Director.

The rise in exports come in the wake of the increase in the uplift capacity from Tiruchi after Tiger Airways started lifting cargo from here to Singapore in September last year.

Tiger Airways was the fourth major airline to lift cargo from the city after Sri Lankan Airlines, Air Asia, and Mihin Lanka. Air India Express, the other major operator from the city, remains the only airline that does not lift cargo though it has international operations from here.

The total available uplift capacity of the airlines for cargo from the city is around 350 to 400 tonnes a month and the terminal is inching towards full capacity utilisation, airport sources said.

The average monthly handling of cargo at the airport has also gone up to 243 tonnes now against the 100 tonnes in 2010-11.

Airport sources also indicate that the composition of the cargo exported from Tiruchi was also gradually changing though perishables, mainly vegetables and flowers, continue to account for 85 per cent of the exports. Of late, consignments of readymade garments, fabrics, leather goods, pharma products, tea, food products such as ‘murukku’ and other eatables, and household goods are gradually coming in.

Exports are mainly to Kuwait, Dubai, Colombo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Colombo. The export market to Europe is still largely untapped for want of connectivity, as far as the airport here is concerned.

The expansion of the runway, paving the way for wide-bodied aircrafts, could lead to export of consignments to Europe from here. For instance, most of the handmade textile exports from Karur, headed for European markets, are currently sent by ship.

The cargo terminal is also expected to get a cold storage with a capacity of five tonnes soon with assistance from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). Although tenders have been finalised by the AAI, the work order is yet to be issued pending release of funds from the APEDA.

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