Low-cost carrier SpiceJet is set to venture into cargo operations from next month, becoming the first domestic airline to start dedicated freighter plane service.
“The launch can be announced in the coming weeks. The freighter plane will be used on metro routes initially,” a senior SpiceJet official told FE.
With the growth of e-commerce shopping in the country, carriers like SpiceJet see a market for dedicated freight planes.
Currently, most air cargo moves through commercial airlines.
According to rating agency Icra, the air cargo traffic is expected to grow at 60% in the next five years. Over 12 million tonne of domestic payload was carried on board flights in FY18, up 8% year-on-year.
The civil aviation ministry is also working on a cargo policy for the aviation sector. Revenue from cargo and ancillary activities has become a focus area for airlines due to a stiff competition in the passenger travel market.
Cargo revenues for carriers have witnessed a surge in the last few years. SpiceJet’s cargo business has grown 20-30% annually, the official added. The Gurugram-based carrier earned Rs 241 crore in FY17 from freight services. SpiceJet would be leasing Boeing 737-800BCF, having a load carrying capacity of up to 24 tonne, for freight purposes.
SpiceJet currently offers cargo service on its passenger flights transporting between 2-4 tonne on Boeing aircraft and 500-700 kg on smaller Q400 series. SpiceJet Cargo has a daily capacity of 600 tonne on its 400 scheduled flights.