Launch of Air India Cargo postponed again

Nagpur: Air India may have postponed launch of an ambitious cargo service, that intends to use the central Indian city of Nagpur as its hub. The service would have connected all metros cities to Nagpur, with a feeder service of five aircraft unloading and picking up cargo at the hub and taking it back to their home base.

The service, Air India Cargo, was due for launch on 1 July, and would have connected six metro cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata with Nagpur, through a feeder service.

The service was, earlier, slated for launch in March 2007 and was postponed to November 2007. This was done in order to allow the flag carrier to take delivery of new aircraft and free up older ones for conversion into freighters.

AI has now completed conversion of four of its Boeing 737-200 aircraft, which have a payload capacity of 12 to 15 tonnes. The carrier's plans call for five Boeing 737-200 aircraft to be reconfigured for cargo operations, of which four would be operated in phases from Nagpur.

Cargo operations will be run six days a week, with a break on Mondays. 

The project, say airline sources, has the potential to place Nagpur on the global aviation map even before the Multimodal International Hub Airport at Nagpur (Mihan) commences operations.