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The Editor’s Corner #12 – The Indian Air Cargo Market Is Hotting Up

LONDON – It is clear that in recent weeks, the Indian air cargo market is hotting up, particularly on routes heading into the European Union and the UK. Welcome to The Editor’s Corner.

The Editor’s Corner is an op-ed series from AviationSource Editor-in-Chief James Field, who is going to give his thoughts (Maybe controversial) on all things going on in the aviation industry.

In case you have missed the last 11, feel free to browse through them before you continue to read this piece:

  1. The Editor’s Corner #1: The Industry Isn’t Ready for Summer 2022 Demand
  2. The Editor’s Corner #2: JetBlue’s Offer for Spirit Airlines Will Change The American Airline Dynamic
  3. The Editor’s Corner #3: Boris Johnson’s Damage To The Aviation Sector is Another Reason for Resignation
  4. The Editor’s Corner #4: PLAY Will Transform The Market with a Post-Pandemic Edge
  5. The Editor’s Corner #5: Detriment of the Boeing 737 MAX & 787 Is Causing a 777X-Based Aftershock
  6. The Editor’s Corner #6: Qantas’ Plans For The Future Will Turn Around Negative Times
  7. The Editor’s Corner #7: The P2F Market Is Hotting Up…
  8. The Editor’s Corner #8: O’Leary Is Gunning For Another Cheap Boeing Order
  9. The Editor’s Corner #9: Ukraine Crisis: Turkish Airlines’ A350 Snap-Up from Aeroflot May Have Something To Do With A Red Carpet…
  10. The Editor’s Corner #10 – Ukraine Crisis: Lessors Will Not Win The Russia Battle
  11. The Editor’s Corner #11 – Spirit Airlines Are Slowly Changing Their Mind…

James will be starting things off with his next topic being: The Indian Air Cargo Market Is Hotting Up

The Indian Air Cargo Market Is Hotting Up


In recent weeks, Indian carriers SpiceJet and IndiGo have been revealing some form of plan to expand their footing in the cargo market.

With SpiceJet acquiring approval for European Union & UK cargo operations, as well as the first IndiGo CarGo Airbus A321P2F appearing in Singapore, things are ramping up.

This piece will explore the two different carrier’s recent developments as well as the presence of cargo in the Indian aviation sector.

SpiceJet Taking A Dip in a Competitive Market…

According to Redbox India, SpiceJet has acquired approval to operate cargo operations in the United Kingdom and European Union countries.

With this news coming at an early stage, it is unclear what they would use for these cargo operations.

Providing that no aircraft are ordered under lease or through direct ownership, the Boeing freighters would probably be the most likely equipment for these operations.

This, of course, would include multiple stops, but with cargo being a thriving market at present, making the multiple stops could produce different revenue streams for the airline.

Many cargo carriers operate multiple stops, sometimes in the same country, in order to boost revenue streams whilst the respective aircraft are on their global trips.

IndiGo CarGo As A Result of Increase in Cargo Demand…

As mentioned earlier this week by Anurag Kotoky, IndiGo is bolstering its cargo with its first Airbus A321P2F, with the aircraft seen at the ST Engineering hangar in Singapore.

This is yet another representation of cargo booming with the airline, with IndiGo mentioning cargo demand has increased by 31% year-on-year.

With this particular aircraft, they would look to operate something similar to SpiceJet, with multiple stop-overs to increase revenue streams in cargo-heavy airports.

Such movement is where we could see some intense competition between the two sides, especially if the same routes are serviced as well, offering an interesting insight into where this could go next.

Presence of Air Cargo in India…

As stated by Shangliao Sun via Statista, international air cargo traffic in India was on the rise between 2010 and 2019. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the region between 2019 and to present day, the numbers declined slightly.

However, that positive curve upwards pre-pandemic suggests that when recovery happens in that particular region, the numbers will continue to rise.

This is something that SpiceJet and IndiGo CarGo have noticed and are looking to act on this during the specific downtime during the recovery period.

For carriers outside of India operating flights into the region, this will of course also prove to be competitive, especially with there being more options for capacity and maybe at a cheaper rate too.

Any Orders for Farnborough?

If this is anything to go by, ST Engineering and other P2F providers could receive some orders at the Farnborough Air Show which is around a month away.

This would be something that would be beneficial to the likes of Airbus & Boeing, who do have their fingers in this area of the pie.

It is also why the Farnborough Air Show next month will definitely be something worth looking out for.

With Air India looking to order A350s as well, there is nothing to stop the Indian flag carrier from joining in on the A350 Freighter fun as well.

Overall: This Part of the Sector Is Something To Look Out For…

It remains clear that demand for air cargo in India is most definitely on the rise, and is definitely something to look out for.

With the e-commerce market, in particular, continuing to rise in volume, the need for freighters could not come at a better time, and passenger carriers want to join in on this fun too.

For example, Virgin Atlantic has done the same through its P2F operations in Brussels with Titan Airways.

So, for now, keep an eye out on this sector, as well as what may come out of the Farnborough Air Show as well.

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