Pune Airport administration is exploring the possibility of operating ‘freight aircraft’ in order to provide better cargo services to local businesses. As per officials, after an expansion of the terminal building and addition of extra parking space, the airport administration can start operating a few freight aircraft from the Lohegaon Airport. Director Pune Airport Ajay Kumar said since the volume of the domestic cargo at Pune Airport is growing at a phenomenal, the plan to expand the capacity is on the anvil.
Kumar said that the airport was recently ranked 6th among the major airports across the country in cargo operations. In the first quarter of 2018 (April to June 2018), the cargo operation at Pune has seen a growth of 72 per cent, he said. “Pune Airport handled 14,522 tonnes of domestic cargo from April to June 2018. There has been a 72 per cent increase over last year. On provision of land from state government some of the existing offices shall be relocated and new common user integrated cargo terminal shall be constructed,” said Kumar.
“We are placed 6th among the top metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangaluru. The growth was recorded in top major airports is 72 per cent. We are working towards exploring the possibility of operating freight aircraft. The freighters park will be available by October 28. The same will however help the domestic cargo services too. We are expecting to see a cargo traffic increase of 50 per cent this year,” said Kumar.
On Friday, Kumar spoke on the topic: “Challenges and Potential: National and International Cargo from Pune” at an event organised by Maharatta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA). At present, the city airport has limitations when it comes to cargo handling as most of the cargo that goes out and comes at the Pune Airport is belly cargo which is sent in passenger planes, subject to availability of space and weight.
In July 2017, Pune Airport had started the international cargo facility. International cargo services from Pune Airport mainly comprise auto and engineering products, agricultural commodities and will feature relatively oversize, large-container export.
Recently, Air India started with its international cargo services at the Pune Airport enabling transportation of goods to and fro Dubai and Pune. The service is expected to benefit the domestic airport by adding value. They added that the entry of a big player into the city airport scene is likely to arouse the interest of other airlines too.