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AI may stop carrying cargo between Mumbai and Paris

AIC may soon withdraw its cargo ops on the Mumbai-Paris route as Air France and Lufthansa offer cheaper rates than AIC for cargo to Europe.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2008 13:12 IST

Air India Cargo (AIC) may soon withdraw its cargo operations on the Mumbai-Paris route. Instead, it is likely to deploy its two freight aircraft in South East Asian sectors like Hong Kong and Singapore.

Sources in Air India said carriers like Air France and Lufthansa offer cheaper rates than AIC for cargo to Europe. It is learnt that the charges for uplifting cargo by the rival freighter aircraft on the Paris-Mumbai route is less than 30 euro ($44.5) per kg, which is almost 25 percent lower than what AIC charges to its customers on the route.

P.K. Gupta, executive director, sales and marketing, cargo of Air India, told IANS: "We are undergoing a major route rationalisation process, so we can start operating on profitable routes."

For this purpose, it has sent its team to Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, New York, London, Australia, Africa and Sydney to study the cargo market.

"The officials who have gone to various cities across the globe will study how we can spread our cargo operations. By the end of March we will submit a report. Accordingly, we shall decide on the future course of action to spread our cargo business across the globe," said Gupta.

In June 2007, the state-owned carrier had re-entered the cargo market on the Frankfurt and Paris routes. For capturing the cargo markets across continents, AIC will deploy nearly 41 aircraft gradually.

"Our long-term plan is to make AIC a separate profit centre. Everything that we will do will be evaluated in terms of cost and profit," said Gupta.