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BLR Airport emerges No. 1 in the country for perishable shipments in 2020-21


Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport) has emerged as the No. 1 airport in the country for perishable shipments. According to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), BLR Airport processed 48,130 metric tonnes (mt) of perishables in Financial Year 2020-21, accounting for 31% of India’s total perishable shipments. 

In the process, BLR Airport also emerged as the leading airport for exports of poultry products and flowers during the period. It processed 28,182 mt of poultry products and 1,296 mt of flowers.

The perishables, which also included vegetables and fruits, were carried by 24 airlines to 46 international destinations.  Doha was the top destination, followed by Singapore, London and Muscat.

The round-the-clock support from Customs, Plant Quarantine Office Bangalore, APEDA and Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing and Export Corporation Ltd (KAPPEC), Government of Karnataka, has facilitated creating a robust business environment, helping BLR Airport achieve this milestone, said a release.

APEDA has been instrumental in engaging with the perishable exporters, understanding their needs and in turn engaging with BLR Airport to ensure that infrastructure capabilities continue to grow with the growing demand for perishables exports globally. It has also been instrumental in the promotion of export-oriented production, improving packaging standards, training in various aspects of perishable industries and assisting perishable exporters with various financial assistance schemes.

During the pandemic, BLR Airport facilitated discussions between the trade and statutory bodies from both Government of India and Government of Karnataka in a common forum to discuss the policies and benefits of schemes like Krishi Udaan for the perishables sector. This resulted in creation of new markets for farmers, which was essential to ensure that the farm produce could reach consumers in far-flung areas in a timely manner. 

Efficient operations 

With its conducive geographic location, aided with robust infrastructure operated by AI SATS and Menzies Aviation Bobba Bangalore, and adequate airline capacities to key markets globally, BLR Airport has transformed itself as the preferred choice for perishable shipments in India. As a result, growers/shippers from neighbouring states prefer BLR Airport to transport their produce. 

Time always plays a critical part in perishable logistics to ensure that products reach their destination while still offering the same freshness, quality and appeal for consumers. BIAL has made key tech-driven interventions to ensure there is no temperature excursion, reduce the handling time and speed up clearance of consignments. All farm-fresh commodities reach their destinations within 24 hours of harvest, as per the release. 

BLR Airport has a dedicated cold zone - AISATS Coolport - with capacity to handle 40,000 mt per annum and temperature zones ranging from -25 to +25 degrees Centigrade under the same roof. Additionally, Menzies Aviation Bobba too has a cold zone, with capacity of 20,000 MT per annum, and also the capability to handle 20 Unit Load Device (ULD) pallets from 15 to 25 degrees Centigrade and 2 ULD for 2 to 8 degrees Centigrade.

Currently, 14 dedicated freighters operate to and from BLR Airport, besides the additional belly capacity in passenger aircraft. On an average, BLR Airport has 30-33 daily freighter movements. 

The current cargo capacity of BLR Airport is 715,000 mt annually, which is the largest cargo processing capacity in South India. This is expandable up to 850,000 mt. BIAL aims to expand its cargo infrastructure to provide a capacity of approx. 1.5 million mt by the mid-2030s, the release added.