Due to ineffective usage of air freight station, 40% of cargo volume was lost to neighbouring airports

The air freight station (AFS) at Chennai airport that was launched nearly five years ago has still not been put to effective use, say cargo agents and officials of Airports Authority of India (AAI).

This had led to a delay in processing cargo, with the city’s airport losing cargo volume to other airports, they said.

“This airport has lost about 40 percent of cargo volume to neighbouring airports including Bangalore and Hyderabad. This is mostly because the AAI officials don’t manage it efficiently. The advantage of handling cargo through AFS is that the items are micro-managed and customised and hence it works faster and better. But the officials don’t use it well, fearing AAI may lose some revenue,” said a cargo agent.

At present, it takes nearly 3-4 days to clear the goods; but if they are handled through AFS it can be processed even in 24 hours, said a cargo agent.

“Cargo belonging to a few companies alone are handled at AFS now. It is not as if we don’t want to use the AFS, but there are certain restrictions we currently face that leads to this problem. Our cargo volume could significantly improve if we handle more cargo via AFS,” said an AAI official.

An official from the civil aviation ministry said suggestions have been forwarded to AAI to fully utilise the AFS soon.

“When we had a meeting recently, this issue was raised. AAI officials have promised to put this facility to optimum use as soon as possible,” he said.

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