There is cheer in store for traders, impex operators, producers, fabricators and floriculturists of state will have now have a second cause to cheer, their products will now reach international markets in the West Asian and European countries faster, thanks to the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) declaring Mangalore airport an international air cargo complex.
The notification No 15/2013-Cus (NT) which was issued on Monday stated international air cargo movement could now commence from Mangalore airport.
“It is too early to dream big as we have to have volumes of air cargo to make it really a happy story. We at the KCCI have begun to motivate the exporters to start thinking big and make air cargo export their route to prosperity. Air Cargo means faster returns, and better quality assurance for Indian products,” president of the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Mohammad Ameen told DNA.
“We have the potential, infrastructure, and many other things that can spur the air cargo traffic from Mangalore, but we have no airline that was interested lifting air cargo from Mangalore. However, the Jet Airways had been the pioneer to operate from Mangalore though with a smaller parcels out of Mangalore,” airport director JT Radhakrishnan said.
Former airport director and regional president of Karnataka NRI business forum MR Vasudeva told DNA that Air India had expressed availability of cargo space up to 5-6 tons per day.
“The region (Mangalore airport hinterland) produces many GI tag horticultural and plantation crops like Shankarpura jasmine, Madikeri oranges, Kalapadi mango of Mangalore, and seasonal produce of fresh jackfruit that are in great demand in the West Asian countries and in Europe which had already expressed willingness to lift 25 tons in three months of jackfruit season from Mangalore,” Vasudeva said.
Union minister for petroleum and natural gas M Veerappa Moily had earlier taken up the matter with the CBEC, Ministry of Finance for notifying Mangalore Airport as Customs Airport under the provisions of Section 7 of Customs Act, 1962 which eventually has made Mangalore as an international airport.
Some of the air cargo items that will boost forex earning includes live crabs that are a delicacy in the West Asian and European countries, Gherkins and cucumber and green leafy veggies grown in Hassan, Shimoga and Chikmagalur, cloves, cardamom and oranges from Kodagu. all were in the range of Mangalore airport.
It is now up to the traders and other users of the cargo facilities in Mangalore to perk up the demand for international air cargo.
“Mangalore airport already had excellent infrastructure facility as the old airport building is lying idle which had all the facilities including aircraft parking bays, taxi ways, loading and unloading space, but the manpower may have to be put in place,” Moily told DNA.