‘New Normal In Aviation Is Safe, Contactless Mode Of Traveling’

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Representational picture of an airline cabin crew member and two young passengers. Source: xiamenairlines/Instagram

Complete movement of essential medicines and goods has been felicitated via civil aviation and cargo, making cargo an integral part of the aviation system.

Speaking at the 7th edition of PHD Global Aviation and Air Cargo Summit themed Aviation -Air Cargo Industry’s New Growth Blueprint & Business Resurgence Parameters organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation said: “Aviation has emerged as a resilient sector that can survive through this pandemic.”

Mr. Kharola mentioned that the Indian aviation sector has faced a lot of challenges caused by the pandemic but survived due to the air freight and cargo, implicating the extensive potential of air cargo across borders. “An aviation system can function when all the parts of the system function efficiently and in sync with each other,” he said.

New Normal in Aviation

The Civil Aviation Secretary opined that the new normal in the aviation industry is the safe contactless mode of travel. “Air travel has immerged as one of the safest modes of travel during these tough times. In the current situation, people’s confidence in aviation has improved due to which new areas of travel and new customers are immerging,” he said.

Mr. Kharola emphasised that aviation is an international activity, we should understand and appreciate that it’s an activity between nations, it’s economically important for all the nations. We have to work together, open new airports, bring in efficiency, reduce cost, and build equitable and strong partnerships between the nations and airlines.

Ms. Vandana Aggarwal, Sr. Economic Advisor, Ministry of Civil Aviation mentioned that there is an increase in the performance efficiency of air cargo and it’s time for India to aspire for a more equitable role in air cargo.

Discussing the initiatives taken by the government, Ms. Aggarwal mentioned that the initiatives have been to multi modalities; India’s engagement in trans-shipments; development of fate corridors which will provide the opportunity for growth of cargo for the countries. With drones becoming the new normal, the traditional cargo movements have to adapt themselves with last-mile connectivity using drones.

She discussed that we are working on a unified interface platform and national logistics portal which will integrate and provide advanced information to the regulators so that the dewily time is lower and all performance metrics and costs are regulated and reduced.

Ms. Agarwal shared that India is one of the few countries that has added air trade capacity on measurable terms besides the B2C conversions; we have added many freighters during the lockdown periods. We will be inducting some more freighters in some time. As the freighter capacity has increased, the ability to service the industry cost-effectively by the airlines will improve as well.

Air Cargo Provides Valuable Revenue

The Economic Advisor emphasised that air cargo has provided valuable revenues to the airlines to sustain themselves during the pandemic. Air cargo has been the humanitarian belly of this pandemic by transporting kits, essential goods, and vaccines to various parts of the world.

Dr. Ahmed A.R. Albanna, Ambassador, United Arab Emirates to India while sharing the strategic relationship shared between India and UAE mentioned that the aviation sector is a key player in building overall bilateral relationship, governed by the air service agreement.

Dr. Albanna mentioned about the close working with India to further strengthen aviation linkages and early reception of scheduled flights under the UAE-India Air service agreement. “The aviation sector is a connective bridge and we will play an important role in letting the road to recovery during COVID-19 and we need to look at different and innovative ways to build our aviation industry recover,” he said.

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

Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Asein Isaev, Kyrgyz Republic to India appreciated India’s pivotal role in supporting the nation during the times of pandemic; it was one of the supplier for pharmacy. He mentioned that we have done some amendments in the airports and we are keen it will wider the possibilities to air connection. Mr. Isaev discussed about that the connection between India and Kyrgyz Republic is in terms of cultural, diplomatic, trade, and people-to-people connection.

Innovation in Cargo

Glyn Hughes, Director General, The International Air Cargo Association mentioned that due to the pandemic, we have learned that collaboration and communication are the keys to the seamless running of the industry. “We have also learned flexible working, leverage digital platforms, and innovation in increasing the cargo capacity. The future blueprint will focus on sustainability,” he said.

Aviation: Playing a Pivotal Role

Sanjay Aggarwal, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in his presidential address deliberated about the importance of the aviation and cargo sector which played a pivotal role in being the engine of connectivity and enabler for growth worldwide for international trade.

Mr. Aggarwal deliberated about the challenges faced in the resuming of operations and the need to look at new growth parameters to revive itself, he discussed the new technologies that have seeped into airports that are dynamically changing the passenger travel experience. “The pace of innovation adoption sets the scene for rapid industry transformation and will force the aviation industry to reset, rebuild, reinvent and become resilient,” he said.

Mr. Agarwal added that the air cargo sector has been instrumental in the transportation of essential supplies worldwide. “This industry is playing a crucial role in the transportation of the COVID-19 vaccine and there is a need to adapt infrastructure, processes, and resources to respond to huge global logistical challenges, he said.

Emphasising that the civil aviation market is expected to see some surge with the availability of vaccines, Mr. Agarwal said people’s willingness to travel, and recovery in the macroeconomic growth of domestic air traffic.

“The government’s emphasis on infrastructure under the Aatmanirbhar- Make in India initiative in the aviation industry and giving a push to the aircraft leasing market will help this industry to bounce back seamlessly,” he said.


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