Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirappalli International Airport has been handling non-scheduled overseas cargo flights despite the lockdown due to the increased demand in export of fruits and vegetables to select foreign countries such as Singapore, Dubai and Kuwait.
After activities at the international cargo terminal of the non-metro international airport resumed in early May, there has been steady movement of export cargo now and then lifted by various overseas carriers. Throughout the month, about 185 tonnes of cargo was exported from the airport.
The first shipment of overseas cargo was lifted from the airport on May 08. SpiceJet operated a dedicated SpiceXpress cargo freighter from Tiruchi to Singapore for the first time to lift vegetables and fruits. Maximum quantity of overseas freight consisting of vegetables, fruits and curry leaves were lifted to Singapore.
Throughout the month, about 185 tonnes of cargo was exported from the airport. A little over 160 tonnes of perishables were lifted by both SpiceJet and IndiGo airlines to the country on different dates in the last month.
Besides, about 3.3 tonnes of overseas cargo was lifted to Dubai by Air India Express and 18.92 tonnes to Kuwait by Kuwait Airways.
During the ongoing lockdown period, SpiceJet had operated 10 flights from the airport to lift export cargo followed by Kuwait Airways which had operated three non-scheduled flights.
All the non-scheduled flights were operated upon obtaining specific approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, says sources at the airport.
Pre-lockdown period, Tiruchi airport used to handle about 750 tonnes of export cargo on an average every month. The airport had exceeded the internal target set in respect of export cargo movement during FY2019-20.
The target set was about 7,500 tonnes with the airport surpassing it by clocking a little over 8,100 tonnes during the 2019-20 fiscal.