FTCCI urges Centre to restore Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa freighter services at Hyd

The services were removed post-Covid to help maintain the competitiveness of exporters and importers of Telangana state.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  26 Sep 2022 1:28 PM GMT
FTCCI urges Centre to restore Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa freighter services at Hyd

Hyderabad: The Federation of Telangana Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FTCCI) has given a representation to the secretary of ministry of civil aviation, Rajiv Bansal, asking to restore Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa freighter services facility at Hyderabad.

The services were removed post-Covid to help maintain the competitiveness of exporters and importers of Telangana state.

According to the FTCCI, Hyderabad has a dominant position in the country's pharma sector and ranks first in manufacturing of bulk drugs and third in formulations in the country. It accounts for 40 per cent of the total Indian bulk drug production and 50 per cent of the bulk drug exports and is considered as the 'Bulk Drug Capital of India'.

Hyderabad region also accounts for over 30% of all the vaccines produced globally. To maintain the same position and be a leader not only in India but also across the world, the key to success is international connectivity (direct freighters), FTCCI said.

Prior to the pandemic, Hyderabad airport had good freighter connectivity to major global hubs with operations by Lufthansa Cargo (to Frankfurt) and Cathay Pacific Cargo (Hong Kong). These freighter services allowed local industries to seamlessly integrate with the global supply chains at competitive rates and rapid connections. With the changes in rules enforced via DGCA AIC 41/2020 dated 31 December 2020, the operations of freighter airlines were removed from the ambit of Open Skies policy in vogue and cargo operations were instead brought under Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs) which were designed and intended to manage the operations of passenger services on international routes.

"Crucially, for smaller metros such as Hyderabad, two-port flights reduced the cost of global connectivity by 'sharing' a single flight across multiple cities (double-dipping) enabling smaller Indian cities to access global markets in a fast and economical way. These were crucial trade links for local industries in Telangana, and these two carriers combined had carried a total of around 15,000 MT of cargo in FY2019-20, accounting for around 17% of the total international air cargo volumes handled at Hyderabad Airport during the period," said Anil Agarwal, president of FTCCI.

He said the curtailment of Open Skies for Cargo has unintended negative consequences on many industries reliant on the export and import of goods by air cargo. Exporters/importers using Hyderabad have suddenly lost these key connectivity options that were previously being provided by hopping/fifth freedom flights, negatively impacting their ability to meet their EXIM requirements.

Submitting a representation, the FTCCI requested the ministry to restore the earlier framework of Open Skies, in particular freeing cargo flights from the restrictive passenger BASAs and permitting double-dipping freighters, and also permit the restoration of double-dip operations of Lufthansa and Cathay covering Hyderabad as one of the ports.

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