The suspension of cargo uplift by Tiger Airways to Singapore is causing concern to the exporters of the region and other stakeholders.
The temporary suspension of cargo uplift by the overseas airline over the past few days ago has hit freight movement from Tiruchi international airport to Singapore. Exporters and airport sources here say the airlines had sent a communication recently to various agencies stating that cargo uplift had been stopped until further order as the master general sales agent was yet to be appointed.
The sudden development has put the exporters of Tiruchi region in a quandary as direct uplift of cargo to Singapore has been affected. Exporters now depend only on the Air Asia Airline to route the cargo from here to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur subject to the availability of belly space for cargo in the aircraft. Trade sources said perishable commodities such as vegetables and flowers were being directly sent to Singapore through Tiger Airways which operates 10 flights per week from Tiruchi.
About 2.5 tonnes to 3 tonnes of perishable commodities were being uplifted in every flight directly to Singapore prior to the sudden stoppage. The late night flight to Singapore from Tiruchi served the exporters better as the cargo used to hit the overseas markets the next morning.
In the absence of direct shipment to Singapore, cargo was now being sent in the Air Asia Airline via Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. The cargo is sent in whatever space available in Air Asia flights from Tiruchi, says an IATA agent here.
Although there was good demand from Singapore, space has suddenly become a crucial issue for the exporters. With the continuing impasse, other stakeholders are equally concerned as this might impact the overall export cargo volume from the Tiruchi international airport. The problem comes at a time when the current fiscal is fast approaching its end. Further, Tiruchi airport does not have dedicated cargo flights and cannot accommodate wide-bodied aircrafts due to the absence of longer runways.
With no clue about the resumption of cargo uplift, the stakeholders strongly feel that if Air India Express, which operates flights to Singapore directly from Tiruchi, and Malindo Airlines could uplift cargo in their flights, it would immensely help the exporters. Exports from Tiruchi airport witnessed a steady upward trend since the commissioning of air cargo terminal in 2011.