European giant IAG Cargo seeks partnerships with Indian Carriers

Expressing confidence in India’s growth prospects, IAG Cargo is actively seeking Partnerships with Indian carriers and logistics firms whenever an opportunity arises, as stated by a senior official on Wednesday. The European organization, representing the cargo operations of five airlines, derives approximately 10% of its global export revenues from India.

IAG Cargo oversees the air cargo operations for British Airways, Iberia Cargo, and Spanish carriers such as Vueling and LEVEL, along with Ireland’s Aer Lingus Cargo. In an interview with PTI, David Shepherd, the CEO of IAG Cargo, highlighted the company’s strong performance in the Indian market, attributing it to high load factors and the country’s significant growth across various industries, including pharmaceuticals and e-commerce.

Responding to inquiries about potential partnerships with Indian entities, Shepherd affirmed, “Certainly, if an opportunity arises, we will collaborate with a carrier or a logistics provider on the ground.”

Additionally, IAG Cargo is exploring avenues to expand its cargo capacity. Shepherd emphasized the robust performance of the Indian market in terms of cargo business, citing factors such as rapid growth, a diverse export mix, a burgeoning middle-class economy, and a strong local customer base.

Shepherd expressed optimism regarding increased service frequencies under the new air services agreement being negotiated between India and the UK. Currently operating 112 weekly flights between the two countries, IAG Cargo relies on passenger aircraft for cargo transportation, working closely with British Airways. Shepherd suggested that transitioning to larger aircraft, such as the A350 instead of the current B787 planes, would facilitate additional capacity.

Addressing the question of acquiring freighters, Shepherd clarified that there are no current plans for such acquisitions. Despite challenges, the Indian air cargo segment recorded a volume of 3.15 million tonnes in the 2022-23 financial year. Shepherd cautiously expressed optimism about the air cargo segment for 2024.