Airlines and airports have started the change process slowly, but a lot of digital transformation activities are ongoing in the meantime. Main focus of activities is on customer experience improvements, cost efficiencies, better analytics and revenue optimisation as well as operational excellence. Yet more drastic changes are still the exception, most of the activities are focused on creating workarounds based on decade old processes and systems. A lot of industry players either find it difficult to navigate in these stormy waters, or they prefer to stay ashore in the waters they know well and avoid any marks which indicate new ways because they cannot imagine that they will work. It is critical for all board members and the whole leadership teams to have a deep understanding of the digital agenda, to ask the right questions and to drive the vision and the strategy. A big vision what the destination is and behaviour as prerequisites for branding and selling the trip to get the whole team work towards getting through stormy waters and test new ways to build the new world, even starting to build and show fast results are the main areas that still need to be completely fulfilled in many cases. Siddhanta Sharma, President and CEO at InterGlobe Air Transport industry leaders need to take up this chance and introduce the radical changes needed to create the potential value. Ritika Arora Bhola reports…


For the entire 2021, demand for air cargo has remained steady and in fact in few months, it also increased substantially. The industry witnessed consistent growth in the year owing to various additional factors like transportation of vaccines, manufacturing ingredients and other essentials across countries. Air cargo was the silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud engulfing the aviation industry.

Post the pandemic, the cargo industry has evolved enormously and will continue to evolve even further as we move out of this situation. We believe that normalisation of sea freight and reintroduction of belly capacity in passenger aircraft will further increase current cargo capacities. This will also have an impact on air freight rates eventually. Air freight almost always involves dynamic pricing based on supply and demand. While it is healthy to compete, it could also, to an extent, inflict unwarranted injuries to already bruised airlines if prices are dropped irrationally. Hence, it is important that as industry we stand united to keep an eye on this.

Further, collaboration between air freight shippers, freight forwarders and cargo airlines will be needed to improve volume and peak demand estimates so that cargo can be delivered when and where needed, without any disruptions.


Until the pandemic arrived, the cargo industry never received the attention it deserved. While the demand was increasing, even at some of the country’s busiest airports, air cargo infrastructure was not given any prime consideration. However, consistent cargo operations in absence of commercial flights throughout the pandemic have provided a steady revenue stream for both airlines and airports which has resulted in attention being devoted to cargo facilities by airport operators now. In fact, every new airport is beginning to recognise the need of increasing cargo capacity and building spaces to accommodate this demand. As a result, we expect air cargo to gain further traction in terms of operations, giving the sector a boost.


Air cargo has been the saviour of the world during the pandemic. Be it vaccines or PPE or pharmaceuticals of any type, air cargo has been and continues to be the preferred mode of transportation for most. The entire cargo sector, from shippers to freight forwarders to airlines and airports, all rose to the challenges and worked together to ensure that the global supply chain continued to function as efficiently as possible. In fact, as and when the need for vaccine transportation increased across the world, the air cargo industry became the most preferred mode of transportation for the same.

Sustaining the operational integrity from start to finish and dedication of people who tirelessly worked throughout the pandemic comes remarkably close to the grit shown by healthcare workers. The whole industry came together and worked in close tandem to the evolving needs and demands of the world.

During the second wave, the aviation industry saw downfall, while cargo operations remained resilient, since there was a need to rapidly transport vaccines across countries. Adapting to cargo in belly in commercial flights was inevitable and it also helped airline operators to maintain their revenues while also enabling smooth transport of medical essentials.


It is truly the need of the hour for organisations to adapt initiatives for a greener future. The pandemic pushed the air cargo sector to speed up its efforts on various sustainability initiatives. The airlines we represent in India are also taking the necessary steps in this direction. Whether it is more fuel-efficient engines or environment-friendly technologies or working to reduce waste of resources and energy, all measures are being acted upon. The industry understands that it is necessary to continue with these efforts to defeat any future challenges and build an overall industry upon key factors of resilience and sustainability.


It is imperative for all industry stakeholders to come together and work in a unified form to achieve the targets or a set goal. Airports, airlines, logistics industry will all need to come forward together and work towards more sustainable operations to ensure that there is no compromise on our environment as we achieve new highs.

For instance, the whole aviation industry is now exploring sustainable fuel options to collectively reduce the carbon footprint. Another trend being noticed is enhancing the overall fuel efficiency to lower greenhouse gases which is also being adapted by airlines to reduce harmful impact on the environment.


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