‘Policy to give thrust to air cargo to be drafted soon’

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PANAJI: A policy to provide thrust to air cargo would be drafted soon as it will fuel the growth of the aviation sector and boost India’s economy, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Saturday.
He was in Goa to review the progress of the work on the greenfield international airport in Mopa in north Goa being constructed by GMR Goa International Airport Limited, a special purpose vehicle formed by GMR Airports Limited.
The first phase of the airport is expected to be completed by 2020, officials said.
“We are trying to make a policy for air cargo so that the aviation market can grow, which in turn will boost the trade and economy of the country,” Prabhu told on Saturday.
He said that the success of the aviation sector in India was completely propelled by the participation of private players, adding that infrastructure for the movement of air cargo could be created in the same way.
He said that night hours, when air passenger traffic was negligible, could be used to airlift cargo.
Prabhu added that logistic cost, speed of movement of cargo and the cost of moving them was critical for India to succeed in the global market as well as for domestic competitiveness.
“Air cargo can play a key role to transport perishable items. We are in talks with some countries for the export of fruits and vegetables,” he said.
The minister said that India grows almost 380 million tonnes of agricultural items and around 400 million tonnes of horticulture produce, but 30 per cent of this perishes before it reaches the markets.
“So this part that is lost can be saved and exported which will give farmers a significant rise in income,” Prabhu said.

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