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   Vol. 15  No. 43
Monday June 6, 2016

DIAL Up Ten Years
DIAL Up Ten Years
(L-R) Sanjiv Edward, Head of Cargo Business, DIAL, Indana Prabhakara Rao, CEO, DIAL (in blue shirt), and Srinivas Bommidala, Chairman Airport, GMR Group (with black jacket) with the huge cake celebrating DIAL’s tenth birthday post-privatization.

     May was a merry month for Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL). It celebrated its tenth birthday as a private entity and, more importantly, it did so with a bang: it became the World No. 1 Airport (25-40 MPPA category) in the ACI ASQ (Airports Council International’s Airport Service Quality) for 2015 (it was its second consecutive award).
Indana Prabhakara Rao      For DIAL’s Chief Executive Officer Indana Prabhakara Rao, (left) the award emphasized the importance of service quality offered at the airport. When the award was announced last year, the CEO commented, “the journey was never easy, especially after holding the No. 2 mark for the last three years. We can now justifiably claim to be world’s best. Our hard work and dedication has taken us from being one of the worst airports to the very best airport in the world.”
      Along with passengers, cargo has also taken a leap in the Delhi airport: from 383,000 tonnes in 2005-6 (when the airport was handed over to the GMR-led Consortium) to 726,000 tonnes in 2015-16. Said I. Prabhakara Rao, “Cargo tonnage has almost doubled (since we took over). And today with two operators (the Celebi-operated Celebi Delhi Cargo Terminal Management India and the Cargo Service Center India), capacity is huge: almost 1.2 million tons.”
      Over the years, along with the enhancements to facilitate passengers, initiatives have been taken to boost service quality in cargo. The CEO mentioned the launch of the mobile app for cargo. The application has helped reduce paperwork and tracks movement of shipments on a real time basis. In line with the Prime Minister’s Digital India vision, the CEO said that the “DIAL cargo app benefits the entire air trade system where you can transact complete business functionalities such as tracking consignment, paying terminal charges, and issuing delivery and carting orders, all in a paperless manner.”
      Having achieved the top rank, Delhi airport’s ambition to transform itself into a hub remains. Of course, the first priority for the CEO is to make the Indira Gandhi International Airport, as it is known, a top passenger hub. Speaking about Delhi becoming a hub, the CEO said that in 2006, the traffic was 16.23 million while today it is 14.15 million. To create a hub, he emphasized, “You need two things. One is connectivity, the second is infrastructure facility to transfer smoothly.” The infrastructure was in place. Now, what was needed was connectivity. Why should fliers pass through Delhi, he asked. “If you look at the last three-four years, we are working on connectivity. Today, long-haul flights are coming. There are flights (from Delhi) to San Francisco... London has six flights now. There are Sydney flights… And the important thing is, you need a strong carrier. Today, Air India is the only carrier, and to some extent Jet; they are the only two carriers doing long-haul. In addition, a hub requires Fifth and Seventh Freedom rights. Then, people can come here, for example, from Singapore and fly to London. We can work as a hub. We need that as well as liberalization of routes,” he said.  
      As with fliers, cargo too has seen transshipment. “Now almost about 70,000 tonnes per year of transshipment is being done in Delhi,” said Prabhakara Rao. “It is quite good. And in such a location (as Delhi), which is completely landlocked, doing transshipment is not easy,” he said. The tonnages would have been higher had there been easy accessibility to a port.
      The CEO also mentioned that the airport had enough cargo capacity—in addition, the facilities too had multiplied. The perishables unit, for example, with its arrangements for handling pharma products and meat, was doing very well.
      A cargo village has also been planned. A release mentioned that in “its efforts to establish Delhi Airport as the ‘The Cargo Gateway of India,’ the operator has identified areas for world class cargo infrastructure for both first and second tier layers of overall air cargo supply chain.” While the cargo terminal operators and airlines form the first tier of stakeholders, freight forwarders and 3PL players formed the second tier in the overall air cargo supply chain, the release said.
      DIAL has planned to set up the cargo village forming the second tier layer in line with international practices. The village would facilitate air cargo trade and offer freight forwarders with on-airport warehousing and office facilities. It would also bring about an efficient transfer to and from the cargo terminals with faster processing efficiency. For the time being, however, with capacity lying unutilized at the terminals, the air cargo village plan has been held back.
 Pradeep Panicker     A move, however, that has gained huge popularity among cargo circles is the outcome of the partnership forged between GMR and Concor quite some time ago. This has seen the beginning of bonded trucking services from the Inland Container Depot at the industrial city of Kanpur to Delhi Airport. The transit time between Kanpur and Delhi is around 12 hours. Pradeep Panicker, (right) Chief Commercial Officer-Aero, DIAL, said that the launch of such a facility was another move to meet the growing demand of the cargo industry emerging out of the Tier-II cities. It would not just cut down on the cost and time involved in shipping, but would also reduce the multiple handling of the air cargo.  
      Yet another success that DIAL officials mentioned—in this time of celebrations—was the agreement between Delhi Airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to collaborate and promote an air cargo trade lane between the two airports. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed seeks to promote business, product development, knowledge sharing, training, performance benchmarking, and regulatory agency cooperation. Also, the agreement would enhance Delhi and India’s logistic capabilities at the global level.
Tirthankar Ghosh

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