Bengaluru Set To Handle 1 Million Metric Tonnes Air Cargo by 2030: BCG

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Representational photograph of an airport cargo terminal. Source: Jakarta Airport

Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (KIAB/ BLR Airport) is expected to handle 1 million metric tonnes of air cargo by 2030 and 1.7 to 1.9 MMT by 2038 with a consistent cargo growth of 8.5 to 10 percent, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has estimated.

Mario Gonsalves, managing director and partner, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) made this estimate citing infrastructural developments happening in the airport, the self-reliant manufacturing push by government and the ever-improving economic conditions in South India.

Mr. Gonsalves was making a presentation on South India Market Insights during a webinar organised by Indian Transport and Logistics News (, presented by Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (KIAB/ BLR Airport) and supported by sGATE Tech Solutions under the topic ‘Above and Beyond Tapping BLR Airport’s Potential as South India’s Hub For EXIM Cargo’  last week.

“The Bengaluru Airport is optimally located in region with all major manufacturing clusters in South India situated in 7-8 hours reach of the airport. It includes agri-perishables and floriculture coming from Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, pharmaceutical cargo coming from Goa, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, ready-made garments from Tirupur, Tamil Nadu, engineering products from Coimbatore and the north Karnataka which is a major manufacturing catchment,” he said.

According to Mr. Gonsalves, the three key trends that will shape the future of air cargo movements in South India are:

  • The push towards self-reliance or import substitution,
  • India emerging as a global export hub due to the China+1 policy of global manufacturers and
  • The focus on developing sunrise sectors.

“India has identified 12 key sectors for the Atmanirbhar push. There is a lot of work going on the ground as well, particularly in Karnataka. There are specific clusters identified for many of these sectors. This includes EV cluster in Ramnagara, textile cluster in Bellary, toys cluster in Koppal, pharma in Yadgir, FMCG cluster in Hubali etc,” he added.

Bengaluru Catering 43% of Air Cargo

According to BCG, Bengaluru Airport caters to 43 percent (2,92,000 MT) of all air cargo movements in South India, higher than Chennai (37 percent), Hyderabad (15 percent) and Kochi (6 percent). It accounts for 49 percent of all domestic cargo share, largely driven by e-commerce shipments, above Chennai (27 percent), Hyderabad (19 percent) and Kochi (4 percent).

While Bengaluru also leads in the export cargo share, Chennai holds the top position in import share. BLR Airport has 40 percent share in exports and 38 percent in imports while Chennai has 34 and 51 percent respectively.

Bangalore International Airport has a significant advantage in terms of the mix of high yielding EXIM commodities it has access to. Whether it is electronics, textiles, leather, pharmaceuticals, horticulture agri-perishables and auto components, all of them are relatively dense cargo and hence high yielding cargo commodities.

While the export mix includes agri-perishables, textiles, high precision equipment, electronic, heavy machinery and pharma, the import mix is of electronics, heavy machinery, healthcare & life sciences, auto components and aerospace.

Satyaki Raghunath, chief strategy and development officer, BIAL, said, “Over the course of last 13 years, from India’s first greenfield airport to now second largest airport in terms of passenger and third largest in terms of cargo volumes, we’ve always focused on developing our cargo infrastructure. Bengaluru Airport is perfectly positioned as the natural gateway for the entire southern region of the Indian Peninsula. We’ve invested a great deal in developing route network and physical infrastructure in order to grow this cargo market.”

BIAL Developing Cargo Network

Mr. Raghunath explained that during the pandemic also Bengaluru Airport had put great effort to develop this cargo network by adding new players. “We’ve 14 freighters serving 25 international airports, increased our cargo capacity with the new express cargo terminal and invested into the public bonded warehouse,” he informed.

Raveen Pinto, vice president, aviation business, BIAL said the airport had always outperformed its traffic projections both in passenger and cargo business which require constant infrastructure upgrade. Despite pandemic, we continued investing.


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