Jet Air to enter air cargo sector with Etihad next month

Despite slowing global air freight growth, Jet Airways on Tuesday announced a venture into the air cargo sector from April, seeking perhaps to capitalise on the 'Make in India' campaign and burgeoning e-commerce.

"India is now the second-fastest growing air cargo market in the world, and this growth is expected to continue in line with the country's economy. We look forward to cargo making a strong contribution to the annual revenues of Jet Airways." said Jet CEO Cramer Ball.

The latest International Air Transport Association data for global air freight markets for the month of January showed lower than average growth compared with the last year.

The airline sees strong logistics demand emanating from Indian government's 'Make in India' campaign. It is also looking to cash in on the booming domestic e-commerce sector.

The IATA, which represents some 250 airlines or 84 per cent of global air traffic, said in a report released on 3 March that there was a 3.2 per cent expansion in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) in January 2015 compared to the same month last year.

The growth is slower than the average 4.5 per cent recorded for 2014.

However, in contrast to the global average, Asia-Pacific carriers grew their FTKs by 6.9 per cent compared to January 2014, supported by an improvement in regional import activity.

According to the airline officials, freighter services will be operated using an A330-200F aircraft wet leased from strategic-partner Etihad Airways with operating base in New Delhi. A wet lease is an arrangement in aviation industry wherein the lessor provides an aircraft on lease along with the pilot and other support staff to the lessee.

The freighter services will operate to a number of international and domestic destinations including Bangalore, Hong Kong, Hanoi and Singapore, the officials said.

Kevin Knight, chief strategy and planning officer at Etihad, said, "The launch of Jet Airways's dedicated freighter services also demonstrates the importance of cargo to the Indian economy and will support the Indian government's "Make in India" campaign which requires strong logistics support."