Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju said the ministry is mulling on increasing the number of cargo and freight carriers. The minister said Airport Authorities of India Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Ltd (AAICLAS) has been drawing strategies focused on developing the segment that would take the local produce of farmer to international destinations. “There is a good demand for temperature-sensitive goods globally, our country has plenty of local produce to offer. Air-Cargo’s will play a important role here… if farmers produce quality products transport should not become a bottleneck,” Raju said.
Historically in India, the ministry said, while roadways and waterways have been utilised for cargo transportation, flights have been only used for passengers. “In India, cargo is hardly there maybe two airlines and three aircrafts. We need to develop it and the government sees it as an opportunity to double the income of farmers,” he said.
He said that business groups have to see an opportunity in the cargo sector and the Central government will looking into narrowing the ‘dwell-time’ such as customs and clearance in airports for goods. “Naturally the general concern is obtaining clearance at the airport, if the ‘dwell-time’ in the airport is more that 72 hours then the perishable goods will have to be discarded. We are working on those area’s to streamline the transaction process, at the same time encouraging business to take up interest in promoting the interest of the farming community,” he said.