Boeing 757s will fly in India, courtesy Blue Dart

News Clip : Economic Times, Kolkata

13th April, 2006.

Boeing 757s will take to the Indian skies for the first time when Blue Dart - the air express, courier and logistics company - will have its seventh aviation system in place in Hyderabad by June this year.

Blue Dart Express MD, Malcolm Monteiro, said on Wednesday Blue Dart Aviation, the company's own dedicated air service, would add two Boeing 757s to the existing fleet of Boeing 737 freighters.

"The induction will help us handle 250 tonnes per night against the current 166 tonnes. In Hyderabad, we shall also be connecting outbound flights to other stations by June, 2006," he said.

Plans were also afoot to put Ahmedabad on the outbound map, he added. In 2006, as part of the expansion plans, Blue Dart would be adding 1,21,645 sq ft space and locate 14 of its 45 new facilities in the south, which accounted for 35% of overall revenue.

During January to December, 2005, 1.25 lakh tonnes express and airfreight loads - equivalent to teh total exports out of Chennai and Bangalore - were handled by the company. Mr Monteiro said. He added that revenue for the same period was Rs 536 crore.

The company is confident of growing above the industry level of around 20%. The organised domestic express market is pegged at Rs 1,100 crore and the international express market is estimated to be Rs 1,500 crore.

Mr Monteiro was enthusiastic about the south and said 42,000 tonnes of the total load was from here, with total shipment from the region touching 18 million tonnes. Also, three of the six aviation super hubs were located in south, which had 15 of the 39 route connections to its credit.

One such integrated super hub, loacted at the old international airport terminal with airside and cityside access, was inaugurated on Wednesday. "The south is a critical region for us and the benefits of an air city side enables quick and seamless retrieval and dispatch of inbound and outbound loads. "Blue Dart would invest Rs 25 crore this year in line with its proposed aim of adding 45 new facilities to the existing 217.

Senior vice president of marketing and projects, Tulsi N Mirchandaney, told ET the company inccurred Rs 41 crore on the technology front till now. With 75% of high value items transported by air globally, India had 40% routed by air. This was bound to increase and there was no reason to reduce cost of shipment, as customers - conscious of delivery schedule and quality - were willing to pay for value added services.

"Planning of the inventory by the customer is possible and the cost of errors is also eliminated as our flights operate in the night, enabling planning of business the next day. We are providing value added distribution," said Mr Monteiro. He said banking and finance businesses fetched the maximum revenue.

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