Aiming to emerge as the largest air cargo hub for south and central India, the GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GHAC), looks to strengthen its air cargo infrastructure.
Paving through the pandemic-induced challenges the Hyderabad Airport has been able to rebuild its flight network and cargo connectivity recording a 35 percent growth in its domestic cargo volumes in 2021.
The domestic connectivity at the airport saw an expansion of over 65 domestic destinations by end of 2021, compared to 55 before the Covid outbreak in early 2020.
From the year 2019, the airport has moved up a rank and become the fifth-largest cargo hub in India. Making a broad-based growth the airport registered a year-on-year gain of 22 percent over the volumes handled during 2020, considering both domestic and international cargo. The domestic cargo alone grew 35 percent.
In 2021, the cargo volumes of the airport exceeded pre-pandemic levels and became the best performing PPP metro airport in the country 2021.
“Even though a very difficult operating environment, Hyderabad Air Cargo terminal has registered a positive growth momentum which underscores Hyderabad’s and Telangana’s rising importance as a cargo and aviation hub.”
Pradeep Panicker, CEO-GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL)
“With the expected return to normalcy in international air connectivity during 2022, we are very bullish about the prospects, and we will be making major investments into expansion and upgrade of our cargo terminal facilities to support the region’s growth trajectory,” he added.
The airport is investing in the expansion and up-gradation of its temperature-controlled cargo handling facilities.
In recent times, GHAC completed the conversion of its entire export processing zone into a temperature-controlled area, becoming the only cargo terminal in the country to do so.
The company will soon launch a ‘Cool Container Yard’ facility, which is set to be South Asia’s largest on-airport base for temperature-controlled air cargo containers, giving the local pharmaceutical manufacturers, forwarders, and airlines easy access to these container units.
To meet the expected demand over the next decade with additions to capacity across both domestic as well as international cargo terminals, GHAC has plans to launch a larger terminal expansion program to scale up its infrastructure, technology, and service offerings.
In 2022, the GMR-owned Cargo Terminal operator plans to venture into International Express cargo handling with the launch of a dedicated International Courier Terminal (ICT).
Hyderabad has emerged as a major hub for e-commerce distribution and supply chain activities, with Hyderabad Airport’s Aerocity being host to the country’s largest e-commerce fulfillment center that serves a massive catchment area across south-central India.
The growth in the domestic sector was driven by factors such as its strategic geographic location, improved domestic air network, customers’ preference for air cargo over other modes of transport, and the increasing popularity of e-commerce.
In 2022, Hyderabad Airport is set to continue this trend, given the key role the city is playing and the airport in the all-important e-commerce supply chains in the country.