Air India Express Cargo Service: A Post-Pandemic Success Story

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How Air India Express helped farmers transport their goods amid distress and saved tons of agri produce from perishing

All success stories have a hero. But this story has many heroes. From farmers and exporters to airport authorities and Airline staff, all of them played their roles efficiently to make Air India Express’ post-pandemic cargo initiatives successful and ultimately, a model worth emulating.

When we started to ferry essential farm produce, which was stuck in godowns or farms due to pandemic restrictions, our goal was pretty simple – helping farmers and preventing food wastage. The response we received from the agricultural community was mind-blowing.

In addition to our normal cargo operations, the Airline introduced a ‘cargo-in-cabin’ service which helped it to move more produce. Gradually, this proved beneficial for the Airline too in terms of revenue, especially in the wake of reduced passenger flight operations. Team IX directly coordinated with agricultural cooperatives/shippers in Tier-II cities.

With quality and freshness topping the list, the logistic demands of the agriculture industry are very specific. Also, timely delivery is also an important factor. Cargo-in-cabin services helped to save time and thereby ensure the quality of the produce transported.

The exported products were mainly fruits such as mangoes, Indian varieties of bananas, and vegetables.

A Look at the Numbers

Air India Express flights carried 19811 tons of cargo worth INR 175.30 crores between April 2021 and December 2021. In July 2021, 2948.91 tons of cargo was ferried by the Airline, the highest during the nine-month period. The majority of the goods came from Kozhikode, Kochi, and Trichy. Sharjah was the top destination, followed by Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, and other countries in the Airline’s network.

The total number of Cargo-in-Cabin flights (P2C) operated during the period was 309.
The Airline carries all types of General Cargo, Perishable Cargo, Courier Shipments Postal Mails, etc. It uses an online system- Logistics Management System (LMS) – to book the shipments towards all its destinations and operates Boeing 737-800 aircraft for carrying them.

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