Indian air freight – high up, scoring tonnage

According to the recently released report “India Air Cargo Outlook 2023” by Trade and Transport Group, India generated 2.2 million tons of traffic and is moving towards 2.5 million tons in 2023. In relative terms, our air freight traffic was 1/5 the size of China and about 1/10 the size of the US air freight market – with about 30% of traffic generated domestically and the rest international.

Cargo handled at Indian airports could reach 2.4-2.5 million tons in 2023 even if passenger/belly capacity returns, said Frederic Horst, managing director of Trade and Transport Group. “With 5-6 Indian conglomerates investing abroad, the connection with India will always be strong. So in terms of trade, India is in a good position.”

India’s air cargo market is dominated by international airlines such as Aerologic (Lufthansa Cargo x DHL), Cathay and Turkish, while only a handful of domestic players such as IndiGo, Air India and Pradhaan Air can be seen. The largest airline in the Indian market is currently Aerologic (14%), followed by Qatar Airways (12%), Emirates (12%), Air India/Air India Express (8%) and Cathay Pacific (7%). Although fewer domestic carriers are operating, domestic traffic has recovered to pre-pandemic levels relative to international traffic due to the rapid rise in e-commerce, express and general cargo traffic.

Air India and Air India Express account for 2/3 of the traffic carried by Indian airlines, with IndiGo, Vistara and SpiceJet making up the rest, the report said. The report also mentions that there is an abundance of high-frequency belly capacity, which is why freighter operations in the Indian market are struggling. The five existing cargo aircraft operators include Blue Dart Aviation, SpiceJet, IndiGo, Quikjet and Pradhaan Air
To express.

With economic and trade growth expected to outperform in the near future, there are growth opportunities – driven by imports and exports of intermediate and finished goods, and e-commerce traffic. India could also benefit from a US and European move away from China, but that depends on how manufacturing capacity develops, particularly in the consumer goods and high-tech sectors.

Carrier traffic performance in 2022 was generally positive, with the overall market growing by 8.4%.

IndiGo grew 14.5%, Blue Dart grew 2.5%, Go Air, Air Asia, and Vistara all grew about 30%. On the other hand, SpiceJet’s traffic fell by almost 30% (mainly due to the cancellation of two out of five cargo planes from its fleet) and Air India’s traffic fell by 2%.

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