Aviation is evolving as the ultimate logistics hub

Aviation is evolving as the ultimate logistics hub



Q1. The aviation industry is amid a dynamic phase of advancements, and we are confident about the exciting changes that the future holds. What are your thoughts on it?


The Indian aviation industry has experienced significant traffic expansion lately amid a dynamic phase of advancements, and this upward trajectory is anticipated to continue. As per a recent CAPA report, India has projected a robust growth of approximately 15% in air traffic, reaching 155 million passengers during the fiscal year 2023-24.


The sector is also anticipated to benefit from a surge in aircraft orders as airlines allocate resources towards new fleets to cater to fast-growing demand. The outlook remains optimistic regarding the progressive growth of airlines like IndiGo, the privatisation of Air India, and the emergence of new carriers like Akasa. The recovery in Indian domestic air traffic has also been one of the fastest in the world. According to Airbus’s 20-year forecast released in June 2023, as many as 685 million people are expected to fly in India in 2042 compared to 165 million in 2019.


This is indeed an exciting phase for the industry, which also brings us the unique opportunity to leverage technological advancements, cater to the growing demand for air travel, and contribute more toward a sustainable future for aviation.



Q2. The Noida International Airport, a project owned by the Zurich Airport Group, is set to revolutionize air cargo services in Delhi, which is currently the busiest hub in India. How will this ambitious project expected to bring about significant improvements and advancements in the industry, making it a game-changer in air cargo services?



Noida International Airport has partnered with Air India SATS to develop a multi-modal cargo hub (MMCH). The state-of-the-art infrastructure will cater to the catchment area of Noida International Airport and will facilitate trade in northern India. Spanning over 80 acres of land, this upcoming cargo hub will provide quick, convenient, and intermodal connectivity to and from the country.


The MMCH will comprise an Integrated Cargo Terminal (ICT) combined with an Integrated Warehousing and Logistics Zone (IWLZ) and will feature various modern and efficient facilities, including:


  1. Airside with dedicated freighter apron and transshipment Centre.
  2. Warehouse Zone for freight forwarders, integrators, supporting built-up units (BUPs) with airside access.
  3. Logistics hub to support road-to-road, road-to-air, and air-to-road movement.
  4. A trucking Centre.


Each case is supported with an overlapping layer of technology and process excellence to provide best-in-class facilities, infrastructure, and processes.


The cargo and Logistics infrastructure and ecosystem will cater to a differentiated catchment and several upcoming industrial clusters in NCR and Uttar Pradesh, creating a cargo gateway for Northern India.


The MMCH will integrate a digital solution to simplify the information flow and end-to-end live tracking of shipments at the airport through the E-Freight system, which is an international standard for paperless clearance and support of air cargo transportation, recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). With an Integrated Warehousing and Logistics Zone, E-commerce and other freight forwarders will have more breathing space to help grow the sector in India.


NIA will have just-in-time processes for faster movement of goods, digital integration with stakeholders to provide real-time visibility, improved MCT (Minimum Connection Time), reduced TAT for aircraft and trucks, dedicated access road for truck movement, which would mean no traffic restrictions, ample space for expansion of cargo facilities to support increased demand. This will enable more efficient cargo and e-commerce operations from the airport.


Q3. In the past, women had limited opportunities in the aviation industry. I’m keen to know if there have been changes in recent times and to what extent.


In general, aviation is perceived to be a male-dominated sector. While this might be true in other parts of the world, what has been happening in India in recent years is encouraging.  India has the highest percentage of female pilots in the world compared to other countries. Predominantly, female pilots and flight attendants stand out, but in recent years, there has been much awareness about women pursuing other areas in aviation as a career choice.  Roles like Air Traffic Controllers, Aeronautical Engineers, Aircraft and Avionic Mechanics, Ground Staff, Airport Operations, and Airport and Airline Administration roles are just a few choices that come to mind immediately.


In my opinion, aviation in India is proving to be a thriving industry, attracting female talent and allowing women to flourish in these careers. It will only build the nation and future generations for a better, more robust, and more reliable tomorrow.


Q4. Please provide insight into how the worldwide privatisation of airports has impacted the cargo industry. We would appreciate your professional perspective on this matter.


The benefits of airport privatisation need to be looked at from a holistic perspective, which essentially would involve passenger and cargo services together.  The ability to have agile decision-making, new and experienced management strategies, and investments in new capacities doubled with a focus on efficiency and experience enabled through hands-on technology makes this a win-win situation for everyone in the ecosystem.


One of an airport’s most critical efficiency metrics is its passengers per flight or number of flight hours. In general, the focus on bringing in air service at the airport benefits both the passenger and industrial catchment.  The result is that with the increase in overall passengers throughout, accommodated in an increased number of aircraft movements, allowing for optimum use of the infrastructure created, freight volumes are also known to increase similarly.  Capacity expansion on the airside and or landside enables the increase in volumes.


Furthermore, with privatisation, there is a focus on efficiency and the overall experience offered to passengers and partners alike. Attracting competition in the offerings is known to provide more choices and lower fares, which in turn stimulates passenger and cargo traffic alike.