Blue Dart Plans Air Cargo Charter Services Soon

News Clip : Cargo Times , Mumbai.

September, 2004.

Blue Dart plans to formally launch air cargo charter services in a couple of months.

The company has been chartering its freighters for sometime now. An official launch and a marketing campaign would help the company grow the market for charter operations, said Tulsi N. Mirchandaney, Senior Vice-President (Marketing & Projects).

"With the induction of the fourth aircraft, we have sufficient back-up to officially offer charter services. The freighters would be available for charter operations between 9 a.m and 7 p.m. every day, when they are not used for express deliveries," she said.

On the demand for services, she said that the market would have to be tapped to realise its true potential.

"We will create the capacity and build the market because we believe that there is a latent demand for such services."

Charter operations are ideal for airlifting perishable cargo such as flowers, vegetables and seafood. Such services would also be crucial to companies outsourcing components for their manufacturing chains, she said.

Blue Dart has previously chartered its freighters to Reliance Infocomm for its national rollout last year, to airlift camera equipment from one cricket venue to the other, and even to airlines companies for airlifting aircraft engines within the country.

Blue Dart's freighters have also been chartered for flood relief work as well as to airlift supplies in the aftermath of the earthquake at Bhuj.

With the company setting up dedicated ground handling services, an engineering and maintenance division, as well as six hubs equipped with air-side warehouses and hi-loaders, Blue Dart is confident that it would be able to offer charter services without affecting its express operations.

The express carrier, the only domestic player to operate freighters, added a fourth Boeing 737 to its fleet in May last year, taking its capacity to 180 tonnes per night currently from 120 tonnes earlier.

Mirchandaney said that worldwide, charter services accounted for a little over five per cent of the revenues generated by the air cargo business.

Source : Tunia Cherian George, The Hindu Business Line.

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